ATF to Issue New Ruling on Monday regarding New Restrictions on Shotgun Importation
January 19th, 2011
Today, the ATF announced at the 2011 SHOT Show that a new ruling would be issued on Monday, January 24, 2011, regarding the importability of certain shotguns. ATF informed the audience at the ATF Townhall meeting that they wanted to ensure that they were properly and justly enforcing the requirements of a shotgun being for a “sporting purpose.”
This is definitely concerning given the huge demand for certain shotguns like the Saiga platform, which has seen a noticeable increase in demand. While ATF would not comment on which shotguns will be named in this ruling, I would not be surprised to hear that the Saiga is going to be mentioned in the ruling, given the large capacity magazines and feeding devices that are now available.
Some may remember that ATF determined that the USAS-12 was a Destructive Device because it had “no sporting purpose,” and had a barrel diameter of more than 1/2 inch. The determination that it had no sporting purpose was largely because of the semi-automatic shotgun having large magazine and drum feeding devices, for which, ATF said there would be no sporting purpose.
When I inquired whether this ruling would encompass any DD determinations, the response was that it would not; however, I believe the affect will be that certain US-made shotguns may end up becoming DD’s by this new ruling.UPDATE:New Information on ATF's Ruling that will be Issued on Monday
January 21st, 2011
I previously wrote that the ATF announced at the SHOT 2011 Townhall meeting that a new ruling would be issued on Monday with regards to the importability of certain shotguns. I have since learned that the new ruling is going to be akin to the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban, in that, shotguns with bayonet lugs, large capacity magazines…etc or commonly referred to as “evil parts,” will no longer be importable as they have “no sporting purpose.”
It would seem that the Saiga would fit that category since it has available large capacity magazines, but I am unsure what other currently imported shotguns would fit this bill. Nevertheless, ATF has apparently done an in-depth review and this ruling will prevent the importation of more than one shotgun.
The one interesting question that will arise, especially if the Saiga is named, is whether it has a “sporting purpose” when it is imported versus when it is modified here in the US. For instance, the Saiga is imported with only a 5 round magazine, which is obviously not high capacity. Although there exists larger capacity magazines, including a 30 rd drum, those are made here in the states and the shotgun is not imported with them. Thus, it will be interesting to see if the importability of these named shotguns will hinge only on their configuration when imported or when ATF considers the aftermarket products that are available. If the determination is made at the time of importation, the Saiga should be safe from this ruling
Since when does our right to own firearms depend on their suitability to be used for sport?