For a long time now, the Federal government has been pulling every string in an attempt to gain more control of firearm sales. In a recent turn of events that will get every firearm merchant second-guessing the government’s motivations, the State Department is proposing a raft of changes that if passed could see your freedom to discuss guns online taken away.
In a recent statement, the National Rifles Association (NRA) claimed that the State Department’s proposal is nothing but an effort to stifle online sources on firearm-related information. The latest in a series of regulations drafted by the White House and a core of Democrats, the proposal covers topics ranging from online purchases to discussions and the need for every gun owner to obtain liability license. If the new regulations ever see the light of day, then even what you say online might be regulated in what the government says in a genuine attempt control the distribution and use of firearms within the country.
The contest began in May when a proposal was published in the Federal Register requiring everyone who desires to post any technical information regarding firearms and ammunition online to first obtain a license from the Federal government. People who failed to obey the law would be liable to a fine of up to $1 million and could face up to 20 years behind bars. Currently, the State Department has the mandate to oversee most international shipments. Under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations Act (ITAR), the State Department also oversees the sale of most weapons.
The ITAR act currently requires anyone selling firearms and ammunition or anyone involved in defense services to have a license. It also regulates “technical data” which basically refers to information regarding the design and manufacturer of both firearms and ammunition. Since ITAR was created before the inception of the internet, it initially did not have clear regulations on online trade. However, the new proposal will expand its definition of “exported” to cover online communications.
These new regulations have been met with fierce resistance from concerned parties with most people claiming that it severely restrains the freedom to speech. Whether or not the State Department will listen to these cries is anyone’s guess. For gun sellers, maybe the best idea is to further improve your profitability by acquiring an online firearm merchant account as you wait for the eventual outcome of this “heart-breaking” move.