“Why Can’t We Import Cool Guns” – Adam Kraut

Firearms attorney Adam Kraut explains some of the nuances of the sporting purposes exemption for the importation of firearms. He notes that the BATFE has consistently determined that shooting competitions like IDPA, USPSA, IPSC, and 3-Gun are not a sporting use nor is plinking.

There are a couple of corrections that Adam points out need to be made in his video. First, he used an image for the USAS-12 shotgun that was actually the AA-12. Second, around the 4:14 mark, the video says the “FBI determined” when he actually meant BATFE.

For those that don’t know, Adam, in addition to his firearms practice, is a podcaster at The Gun Collective. He is also a petition candidate for the NRA Board of Directors for whom I helped secure signatures as I support his candidacy. You can find more on that at adamkraut.com.

The Hearing That Should Have Taken Place This Morning

The House Committee on Natural Resources’ Federal Lands Subcommittee was supposed to conduct a hearing this morning on the Sportman’s Heritage and Recreational Act aka SHARE Act. However, as most people know, a deranged Bernie Sanders supporter from Belleville, Illinois decided it would be a good idea to shoot at Congressional Republicans practicing for a baseball game. Thus, the hearing was canceled. It is unclear when it will be rescheduled.

Numerous parts of the SHARE Act had been passed in previous sessions of Congress but never made it to the President’s desk for signing. This included measures that would have allocated monies for target ranges, would have protected lead-based fishing tackle from lawsuits based on the Toxic Substances Control Act, and would have expanded fishing and hunting opportunities on Federal lands. There were, however, some major additions to the SHARE Act including rolling the Hearing Protection Act into it, replacing the sporting use test with an all lawful use test for non-NFA imports of firearms and ammunition, and prohibiting the BATFE from reclassifying popular rifle ammunition as armor piercing. Sebastian covers the addition of the Hearing Protection Act here and the hearing memo gives a good thumbnail outline of the details of the SHARE Act.

The lone opposition witness was to be former ATF Special Agent David Chipman who now works for Gabby Giffords’ American for Responsible Solutions. I’m sure his inclusion was aimed primarily at the Hearing Protection Act.

In support of the bill was to be Jeff Crane, President of the Congressional Sportsman’s Foundation; Rob Keck, Director of Conservation for Bass Pro Shops and former CEO of the National Wild Turkey Federation; and Jason Ouimet, Director of Federal Affairs for the NRA.

The Subcommittee staff prepared an interesting 38-page memo showing the changes in the legal language that would result from the passage of the SHARE Act as it now stands. The changes are color coded which makes for a quick way to see the addition and subtractions to the law. Additions are color-coded in yellow and deletions are in blue.

Passage of the SHARE Act in its entirety would be good for both Gun Culture 1.0 and 2.0. I’m sure the addition of the Hearing Protection Act and the replacement of the sporting use test are red flags for the gun prohibitionists but now is the time for the Republicans to step up and show they are worthy of the past support from the outdoor and shooting communities.

UPDATE: Sebastian wonders whether or not today’s shooting and the hearing cancellation will be the death of the SHARE Act. It’s a valid question but as one of those commenting noted the bill contains too much “red meat” for the hunting and fishing community to just ignore it.

Too Cool For An AR?

Richard Stengel, Princeton ’77 and Rhodes Scholar, is too cool for an AR. He also thinks you don’t need one either.

Stengel’s profile picture from Time Magazine

Stengel is the Managing Editor of Time Magazine and penned a blurb for the Aug. 6th issue entitled “Talking Common Sense About Guns”. In the blurb, Stengel said, “And gun owners know better than anyone else that an AR-15 has little or no sporting purpose.”

Even if one accepts – and I don’t – the ATF’s interpretation of the sporting purpose language of the Gun Control Act of 1968 which they use to say that 3-Gun competitions are not “sporting”, AR-15s in a variety of calibers are used to hunt everything from ground squirrels to whitetail deer and everything in between. Firearm manufacturers ranging from the venerable Remington to the newer Daniel Defense are now making ARs for the hunting market.

Stengel’s comment brought a swift reaction from Steve Sanetti of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Sanetti sent a letter which said, in part,

It never ceases to amaze recreational shooters and hunters when persons who wouldn’t touch a firearm on a bet presume to tell us that certain firearms “have no sporting purpose”…

People fear what they don’t know, and that’s perfectly understandable. But to presume to know what kind of equipment many millions of other law-abiding Americans use for legitimate recreational pursuits in the face of the facts is just wrong.

I don’t know whether Stengel’s comment comes from ignorance or willfulness but I do find him to be as arrogant and out of touch as the magazine he edits. Sorry Mr. Stengel, that is just not cool.