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Old January 10, 2009, 10:07 AM   #24
Bartholomew Roberts
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Join Date: June 12, 2000
Location: Texas and Oklahoma area
Posts: 6,766
Actually it was Bush(41) in 1989 that banned the importation. What he essentially did was to order ATF to re-examine the definition of "sporting firearms." As a result, a whole list of firearms were banned from importation because they had too many "military style" features. Any rifle with a pistol grip and detachable magazine suddenly became "not suitable for sporting purposes."
The current standard for whether or not a firearm is suitable for sporting purposes is whether it takes a "large capacity military magazine" and some cosmetic stuff (stocks, etc.). This is why the Saiga can be imported despite being essentially an AK. It is also worth noting that while the initial determination of "sporting purposes" was done via executive power only, Congress has since written that definition into law.

What Clinton did was make a deal with China. If they would quit importing Norinco AKs, SKSs and ammunition, he would grant them "Most Favored Nation" status.
Actually, the Clinton Administration banned a large number of products from North China Industries (which includes Norinco) due to use of slave labor, child labor and other practices not in keeping with human rights. GWB actually expanded this ban to all products by North China industries (which makes everything from firearms to washing machines).
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