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Old October 15, 2009, 12:19 AM   #1
cbrgator
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Explanation of 922r compliance. Lawyers?

Let me preface this by saying that I understand what 922r compliance means. I know that the foreign parts count must be 10 or less, etc. etc.

I don't want to know WHAT 922r compliance is, but WHY it applies (to guns like AK's and converted Saiga's).

In reading through 922r, and following the citations from statute to statute, I do not see why an AK-47 or a converted Saiga are subject to 922r. Is there anyone out there who truly understands it that can explain this to me? Lawyers maybe? Thanks.
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Old October 15, 2009, 12:47 AM   #2
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Why? Probably in order to make guns more expensive.
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Old October 15, 2009, 08:44 AM   #3
Bartholomew Roberts
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Quote:
I do not see why an AK-47 or a converted Saiga are subject to 922r. Is there anyone out there who truly understands it that can explain this to me?
In order to be subject to 922(r), a firearm must be:

1) a semiautomatic rifle or shotgun
2) identical to any rifle or shotgun prohibited from importation under 925(d)(3) as not being particularly suitable or readily adaptable to sporting purposes.

If a rifle meets those two tests, it is subject to 922(r) and can not be assembled from imported parts unless you are Uncle Sam or doing it for his use. So in short, it applies because the ATF has determined those particular firearms are "not readily adaptable to sporting purposes" - never mind of course that rifles just like them (the AR15) are some of the most widely used rifles in rifle sporting competitions of all kinds.
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Old October 15, 2009, 09:02 AM   #4
cbrgator
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I went to section 925(d)(3) and I don't see why AK's and converted Saiga's fall the scope of prohibited weapon under that statute.
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Old October 15, 2009, 11:03 AM   #5
Technosavant
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Because they are considered "nonsporting."

The ATF has what they consider "nonsporting," and in short, it is things like a pistol grip (as opposed to a thumbhole or traditional rifle stock), detachable box magazines, night sights, bayonet lugs, and that kind of thing. A semiautomatic rifle with a pistol grip stock is usually going to be considered nonsporting.
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Old October 15, 2009, 11:16 AM   #6
cbrgator
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Can you point me in the direction of the legal base for that? I'm not challenging you, I'm curious to read it.
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Old October 15, 2009, 01:52 PM   #7
Technosavant
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Here is the whole of the infamous "922r" from this page, which has the entirety of 18 USC Chapter 44, Section 922.

Quote:
It shall be unlawful for any person to assemble from imported
parts any semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun which is identical to any
rifle or shotgun prohibited from importation under section 925(d)(3) of
this chapter as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable
to sporting purposes except that this subsection shall not apply to--
(1) the assembly of any such rifle or shotgun for sale or
distribution by a licensed manufacturer to the United States or any
department or agency thereof or to any State or any department,
agency, or political subdivision thereof; or
(2) the assembly of any such rifle or shotgun for the purposes
of testing or experimentation authorized by the Attorney General.
The key is in the "as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes" language. It references 925(d)(3), which reads as follows:

Quote:
Unless otherwise prohibited by this chapter, except for
provisions relating to firearms subject to the prohibitions of
section 922(p), or any other Federal law, a licensed importer,
licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer may ship to a member of
the United States Armed Forces on active duty outside the United
States or to clubs, recognized by the Department of Defense, whose
entire membership is composed of such members, and such members or
clubs may receive a firearm or ammunition determined by the
Attorney General to be generally recognized as particularly
suitable for sporting purposes and intended for the personal use of
such member or club.
The key here is "determined by the Attorney General to be particularly suitable for sporting purposes." In other words, it is up to the interpretation of the Attorney General.

In practice, that's pretty well been delegated to the BATFE, who has defined it in terms I mentioned above. An imported bolt action rifle, fine. An imported semiauto with a traditional rifle stock, no big deal. One with a detachable box magazine and a pistol grip config as found on AR and AK variants, problem. There's other items as well.

Firearms which are considered "curios and relics" by the ATF are exempt from 922r, which is pretty much the only way we've been getting the Yugoslavian SKS imported, and that's why modifications to that model are particularly dicey in a legal sense.
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Old October 15, 2009, 03:10 PM   #8
cbrgator
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That's not the text of 925(d)(3)
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Old October 15, 2009, 04:08 PM   #9
Technosavant
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OK, here's Section 925, the entirety of section (d), from here:

Quote:
(d) The Attorney General shall authorize a firearm or ammunition to
be imported or brought into the United States or any possession thereof
if the firearm or ammunition--
(1) is being imported or brought in for scientific or research
purposes, or is for use in connection with competition or training
pursuant to chapter 401 of title 10;
(2) is an unserviceable firearm, other than a machinegun as
defined in section 5845(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (not
readily restorable to firing condition), imported or brought in as a
curio or museum piece;
(3) is of a type that does not fall within the definition of a
firearm as defined in section 5845(a) of the Internal Revenue Code
of 1986 and is generally recognized as particularly suitable for or
readily adaptable to sporting purposes, excluding surplus military
firearms, except in any case where the Attorney General has not
authorized the importation of the firearm pursuant to this
paragraph, it shall be unlawful to import any frame, receiver, or
barrel of such firearm which would be prohibited if assembled; or
(4) was previously taken out of the United States or a
possession by the person who is bringing in the firearm or
ammunition.

The Attorney General shall permit the conditional importation or
bringing in of a firearm or ammunition for examination and testing in
connection with the making of a determination as to whether the
importation or bringing in of such firearm or ammunition will be allowed
under this subsection.
You still have the interpretation of the Attorney General and the infamous "sporting purposes" clause. Unless it's a milsurp (which falls under the curio/relic category), one must contend with whatever the powers that be deem to be "sporting."
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Old October 15, 2009, 05:06 PM   #10
johnwilliamson062
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THe reason is simple. Like all manufactured goods the US manufacturers pay so much in labor they can not possibly compete with foreign manufacturers.

SO, the domestic gunmakers let a nice piece of feel good legislation pass through as it was against their interest to stop it.

In all fairness allowing our domestic small arms manufacturers to collapse is probably a security issue also.
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Old October 15, 2009, 05:06 PM   #11
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I wouldn't underestimate the degree to which protectionism influences this stuff. Domestic rifle manufacturers don't want to compete with dirt cheap weapons from somewhere in eastern Europe or Asia, made out of surplussed AK parts and so forth, but it's difficult to ban imports without a good reason. Hence you've got parts counts, Norinco bans, etcetera.
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Old October 15, 2009, 05:45 PM   #12
cbrgator
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Technosavant,

925(d)(3) references that statute of the Internal Revenue Code. That statute again does not speak to AK's or converted Saigas. So, as you properly noted, this issue turns on "commonly recognized for sporting purposes." Where can I find some verbiage from the ATF that specifies what they do and do not consider sporting purposes. Was there a memo, declaration, regulation, etc. that you could point me to so I can understand this a little bit better?
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Old October 15, 2009, 06:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Where can I find some verbiage from the ATF that specifies what they do and do not consider sporting purposes. Was there a memo, declaration, regulation, etc. that you could point me to so I can understand this a little bit better?
You asked for it...enjoy.



REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE ATF WORKING GROUP ON THE IMPORTABILITY OF CERTAIN SEMIAUTOMATIC RIFLES
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Old October 15, 2009, 06:57 PM   #14
cbrgator
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Thank you. Now I have a new question. All of these laws speak to the importation of these guns. Do these laws speak to possession anywhere? Even if the rifles can't be imported based on not being a sporting rifle, is there language that outlaws possessing them?
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Old October 15, 2009, 07:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Do these laws speak to possession anywhere? Even if the rifles can't be imported based on not being a sporting rifle, is there language that outlaws possessing them?
There is no law against possessing them. If you read the wording of 922(r), it states "It shall be unlawful for any person to assemble from imported parts any semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun which is identical to any rifle or shotgun prohibited from importation under section 925(d)(3)...", you will note that it is the act of assembling the firearm that is illegal. Should you be caught in possession of a firearm that violates 922(r), ATF would rule the firearm "contriband" and confiscate it.
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Old October 15, 2009, 08:41 PM   #16
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Like Hkmp5sd said, if you have one, they're likely to assume you assembled it that way. You may not have, but when it comes to things like this, the ATF tends to put the burden of proof on you to prove you didn't (rather than on them to prove you DID).

You then get into the whole enforceability (how do they know, is this a priority, etc.) issue. Conventional wisdom is that this is the sort of thing they'd use if you already did something wrong and they were just using every charge that could stick or if they REALLY wanted to nail you for something, anything (see Al Capone and tax evasion).

My usual 922r explanation generally ends with "It's stupid, arbitrary, pointless, useless, and doesn't do a single thing to reduce crime, but it's the law, and God help you if you break it and get busted."
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