BATFE Shotgun Study Will Lead to Another Clinton-Type Gun Ban

One Day Remains to Submit Comments

Unable to push a gun ban through the current Congress, the anti-gun Obama administration is seeking to ban many guns through executive fiat.

In January, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) proposed that the importation of many shotguns be prohibited.  In a report entitled “Study on the Importability of Certain Shotguns”, the BATFE found that “certain shotgun features are not particularly suitable or readily adapted for sporting purposes,” including:

  • Folding, telescoping or collapsible stocks
  • Bayonet lugs
  • Flash suppressors
  • Magazines over five rounds, or a drum magazine
  • Grenade-launcher mounts
  • Integrated rail systems
  • Light-enhancing devices
  • Excessive weight
  • Excessive bulk
  • Forward pistol grips

Shotguns containing any of these features are classified by the BATFE as “military shotguns, or shotguns with common military features that are unsuitable for traditional shotgun sports.”

So where does the government find the authority to ban any firearms without the consent of Congress?  The 1968 Gun Control Act states that the Attorney General must approve the importation of any firearm “generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes.”

This unconstitutional so-called “sporting purposes” test has been used by presidents of both parties to ban the importation of millions of firearms and is reminiscent of the 1994 Clinton gun ban, which banned many semi-automatic firearms that contained certain cosmetic features.

This latest action also makes at least two things clear.  First, the “sporting test” should be repealed as repugnant to the Second Amendment.  Even the Supreme Court finally admitted, in its 2008 Heller decision, that the Second Amendment protects gun ownership for defensive purposes, not just sport shooting.

Toward that end, GOA is working with members of Congress to repeal the “sporting purposes” test.

Secondly, this is yet another example of the abuse of power by the BATFE.  As if the scandal of running guns into Mexico and attempting to illegally register rifle sales in border states were not enough, the agency is now seeking to ban the importation of shotguns similar to those owned by many law-abiding Americans.

And at the risk of lending any credibility to the bogus “sporting purposes” argument, this shotgun ban is being proposed despite the fact that the potentially outlawed guns ARE used for sport shooting and hunting.

The shotgun study is just a symptom of a bigger problem with a government agency tasked with overseeing a constitutional, individual liberty.  So, in an effort to rein in the BATFE, GOA recently launched a petition urging Congress to strip the agency of its role in regulating the firearms industry.

GOA has also submitted comments to the BATFE contesting the “findings” of the Study on the Importability of Certain Shotguns.

ACTION: Individual gun owners can submit their own comments by May 1, 2011
via email to
[email protected], or by fax to (202) 648-9601.

Comments should include a name and address, and those sent by fax cannot exceed five pages.
You can cut and paste the pre-written letter below.

Pre-written letter

To: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Re: Comments on the ATF Study on the Importability of Certain Shotguns

I am writing to contest the biased, anti-gun “Study on the Importation of Certain Shotguns.”

The study “finds” that “certain shotgun features are not particularly suitable or readily adaptable for sporting purposes.”  The authors of the study go on to list 10 features and accessories they believe have no sporting value, and thus should be barred from importation.

Even using the unconstitutional “sporting purposes” standard, which I flatly reject, it is hard to imagine why any shotgun would not be considered a “sporting” firearm.  Furthermore, many shotguns “in common use” contain one or more of the proscribed features.

The working group also found that formal practical shooting as practiced by groups such as the United States Practical Shooting Association, the Amateur Trapshooting Association, the National Skeet Shooting Association, the National Sporting Clays Association, and the Single Action Shooting Society, do not satisfy the “sporting purposes” criteria.

The working group dismisses this huge number of sport shooters (0ver 170,000) because an examination of this issue would cast into doubt the legality of import bans the BATFE has imposed on rifles and handguns.

Clearly, the ATF needs to reexamine what it defines as “sporting purposes” in making determinations on the importability of firearms.  The findings of this intellectually dishonest study should be rejected.

Your Name
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