This is gonna be a long post. Take your time reading it, but please, I beg you, read it.
If you are subscribed to the NRA’s notifications, you probably got the warning about the State Department’s adjusting rules and regulations to comply with ITAR and probably you glanced over, saw the mumbo-jumbo and ignored it. Don’t feel bad, I did the same. Here is an excerpt, but this time take your time reading it.
“The ITAR, however, were originally promulgated in the days before the Internet. Some State Department officials now insist that anything published online in a generally-accessible location has essentially been ‘exported,’ as it would be accessible to foreign nationals both in the U.S. and overseas.
“With the new proposal published on June 3, the State Department claims to be ‘clarifying’ the rules concerning ‘technical data’ posted online or otherwise ‘released’ into the ‘public domain.’ To the contrary, however, the proposal would institute a massive new prior restraint on free speech. This is because all such releases would require the ‘authorization’ of the government before they occurred. The cumbersome and time-consuming process of obtaining such authorizations, moreover, would make online communication about certain technical aspects of firearms and ammunition essentially impossible.”
“OK yeah sure. This is just another mailing from the NRA to scare us and send money and stuff.” says you…and I thought pretty much the same… till I read Sebastian’s post and noticed he is very worried. Now, Sebastian worried about this stuff is like Chuck Norris suffering a panic attack or Donald Trump suddenly doing away with the hair piece and developing humility: You pay very close attention and fill the moat with gators.
The State Department has issued a series of proposals about the change of Federal Regulations regarding the Arms Export Control Act to comply with the provisions of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. More to the point and what it is scary, is the new scope of “Technical Data” that can be legally forbidden to publish under the scheme of forbidding its “export” because now exporting includes the publication in any Internet accessible medium since it can be accessed by people outside the US.
Let me see if I can explain it better: If you happen to build a computer super processor, before selling it outside the US, you have to check with the State Department and make sure your buyer is not part of the blacklisted countries forbidden to gain access to such technology. Same for explosives, weapons systems and a bunch of other stuff that might come back to bite us in the ass. But what the State Department is doing changing definitions is broaden the definition of “technical data” so much that the simple post on the proper cleaning of a rifle in a blog, can be considered an illegal export under the new regulations.
Not a joke. Not an exaggeration. The following is extracted from the Department of State’s Revisions to Definitions of Defense Services,Technical Data, and Public Domain; Definition of Product of Fundamental Research; Electronic Transmission and Storage of Technical Data; and Related Definitions
The Department proposes to revise the definition of ‘‘technical data’’ in ITAR § 120.10 in order to update and clarify the scope of information that may be captured within the definition.
So what is Technical Data? Here is the definition.
§ 120.10 Technical data.
(a) Technical data means, except as set forth in paragraph (b) of this section:
(1) Information required for the development (see § 120.47) (including design, modification, and integration design), production (see § 120.48) (including manufacture, assembly, and integration), operation, installation, maintenance, repair, overhaul, or refurbishing of a defense article.
Technical data may be in any tangible or intangible form, such as written or oral communications, blueprints, drawings, photographs, plans, diagrams, models, formulae, tables, engineering designs and specifications, computeraided design files, manuals or documentation, electronic media or information gleaned through visual inspection;
And now, according to the State Department, anything you post in the internet can be considered “export” and requires their authorization:
Paragraph (a)(7) is added for the release of information to a public
network, such as the Internet. This makes more explicit the existing control in (a)(4), which includes the publication of ‘‘technical data’’ to the Internet due to its inherent accessibility by foreign persons. This means that before posting information to the Internet, you should determine whether the information is ‘‘technical data.’’ You should review the USML, and if there is doubt about whether the information is ‘‘technical data,’’ you may request a commodity jurisdiction determination from the Department. If so, a license or other authorization, as described in § 120.11(b), will generally be required to post such ‘‘technical data’’ to the Internet. Posting ‘‘technical data’’ to the Internet without a Department or other authorization is a violation of the ITAR even absent specific knowledge that a foreign national will read the ‘‘technical data.
“Now Miguel” says Mr. Common Sense “You clearly are exaggerating. This is a Snowden-Wiki-Leaks type scenario where we don’t want the blueprints of the latest missile released in some torrent or file sharing site and falling into the hands of our enemies!” As reply to that, I give you an acronym I purposefully bolden and underscored on the last quote: USML, The United States Munitions List.
And what is in that USML?
“The following articles, services, and related technical data are designated as defense articles and defense services pursuant to sections 38 and 47(7) of the Arms Export Control Act. Changes in designations will be published in the Federal Register. Information and clarifications on whether specific items are defense articles and services under this subchapter may appear periodically through the Internet Web site of the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls.”
Some of the things covered under that designation and found in Category 1?
- Nonautomatic and semi-automatic firearms to caliber .50 inclusive.
- Combat shotguns. This includes any shotgun with a barrel length less than 18 inches.
- Silencers, mufflers, sound and flash suppressors.
- Riflescopes manufactured to military specifications.
- Barrels, cylinders, receivers (frames) or complete breech mechanisms for the articles.
- Components, parts, accessories and attachments for the articles.
Now, let me summarize the whole thing: According to the proposal by the State Department, basic information about common every day guns in the hands of millions of Americans that we have shared since the beginning of the Internet such as the proper care and maintenance of firearms, technical specifications of a firearm or a component or an accessory, reports on accuracy or reliability, etc cannot be posted in any form (written photos, videos, podcasts, etc) without prior consent by the Department of State.
Want to post pictures of your AR build? Illegal. Describe how to polish the trigger group of a Smith & Wesson revolver? Illegal. Your podcast about the proper maintenance of your .22LR silencer? Illegal. Article about the latest Plastic Fantastic gun? Illegal. Forum discussion: 1911 versus Glock? Illegal (and probably RICO violation to boot.) Post a comparison chart of the specification of several defense shotguns? Illegal……the list goes on and on and only tampered by what a Federal Judge, appointed by less-than-friendly to the Second Amendment Administrations may decide because you did not seek the blessing by some paper pusher in the State Department.
Are these proposed regulations a direct conflict with the First Amendment? Hell yes and in all probability and after years of slow litigation though the courts, it most likely be killed by SCOTUS. But until that happens, people will go to prison for violation of Federal Regulations and the muzzling down of our Right to freely speak about guns will be the law of the Land.
And remember, the Federal government does not have to go after every Gun Blog, Gun Podcast or Youtube Channel to be effective, they just have to target and silence those that are the most popular and the rest will exercise prior restraint.
I am gonna close by quoting Sebastian:
This is very dire, friends. If this moves forward there is a very good chance I, and many of my other fellow bloggers, forum admins, and YouTubers will end up in federal prison while the Courts sort this out. Don’t ever let anyone ever tell you what these people want are “common sense” regulations. They are fascists. That is no longer arguable. There will be a lot of firearms enthusiasts serving prison time for essentially the same crime they would be charged with had they traveled to Iraq and sold plans for a thermonuclear weapon to ISIS. Fundamentally transformed!
This news has to spread far and wide if we’re going to stop this terrible thing. I’ve even put it on my personal Facebook that I only rarely use to post political stuff. People have to know about this.
11 thoughts on “International Traffic in Arms Regulations & The First Amendment on a collision course thanks to the State Department.”
We need to be writing early and often. This needs to be nipped in the bud right now.
Contacting Congresscritters doesn’t work. Get a line to their secretaries, those are the people who actually tell the representatives how to vote.
I actually saw this pop up on teh twtters on Popehats feed. He’s not normally associated with the gun side of things and he’s seeing all kinds of bad implications with these proposed changes.
This is indeed worrisome.
Okay, HOW do we stop it, short of shooting the bastards? The Obomination just does what he wants, Constitution and the people be damned.
How do we get a line to their secretaries, and how will that stop the State Dept. from doing it anyway?
New post right after this one. Comment period.
100 heads. The rest will comply.
The best line might just be a 3/4 inch diameter rope with a noose in one end.
This is also an infringement of the 2nd as well as the 1st Amendment. There is only one way to stop these federal Communists, and that is to give them a 7.62 cranial attitude adjustment!
This is just another weasely attempt to circumvent the US Constitution, and out unalienable rights, by wannabe dictators! But, they are overreaching on this one because once the truth comes out, it can be shown that this little edict will be used to curtail discussions on ANY subject that the feds, and their corporate masters want to shut down! It will not only be the supporters of gun rights who will want this egregious ruling killed, but a ton of others as well!
But, let them do it anyway. It is time for the Tree of Liberty to be watered again, and it will start the 2nd Civil War, which they CAN NOT win! So, although millions of us will die, ALL of them will die, as well; and the scourge of federal Communism will be erased from this country forever. EVERY federal Communist will be tried for treason and executed. I believe they will all meet the “Traitor’s Death!” of hanging.
But,, I would say to every loyal, Patriotic American who loves the Constitution, get ready because they are coming for all of us, and for any others who oppose their despotic rule!
I’m ready, are you????
well yes I am and I can’t wait
Do you hear the war drums beating…Now they will violate the 1st to get at the 2nd. How’s the media going to react to that? In lock step. Time is short. Make peace for what they are gonna force US to do. Get ready, get set…
[…] Miguel’s post, it is much more explanatory. But if not, I’m just gonna copy his summary, bolded and […]
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