August 23, 2021
News from Reeves & Dola, LLP
Last week saw a lot of activity on firearms and ammunition controls. The following are some highlights.

Biden Administration Bans Imports of Firearms and Ammunition from Russia

Last Friday, August 20, 2021, marked the one year anniversary of the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny. In commemoration, the State Department announced additional sanctions against the Russian Federation under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act (the "CBW Act"). These sanctions include a restriction on the permanent importation of firearms or ammunition manufactured or located in Russia pursuant to new or pending import applications, as well as further restrictions on nuclear and missile-related technology exports to Russia.

Pursuant to these sanctions, beginning on September 7, 2021, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will deny all Form 6 applications to permanently import firearms or ammunition manufactured or located in Russia. Through our communications with ATF, we have confirmed that the agency so far has not been directed to rescind or suspend approved permits. Further, ATF will continue to process Form 6 applications up until September 7.

In addition, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Department of State announced sanctions targeting certain Russian individuals and entities for their involvement in the poisoning of Navalny or for their contributions to Russia's continued proliferation of chemical weapons. Effective August 20, 2021, all property and interests in property of the sanctioned individuals and entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.

For more information, visit the State Department's Fact Sheet.

Bureau of Industry and Security Publishes Correction Rule for Firearms and Ammunition Exports

The Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published a final rule on Thursday, August 19, 2021 to make certain corrections and clarifications to the January 23, 2020 final export rules governing firearms and ammunition. These rules revised Categories I (firearms, close assault weapons and combat shotguns), II (guns and armaments), and III (ammunition/ordnance) of the United States Munitions List (USML) to transfer certain items that no longer warrant control on the USML to the Commerce Control List (CCL) of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).
This correction rule, which will become effective September 20, 2021, is intended to make the controls of the 0x5zz Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCNs) easier to understand and interpreted more consistently. BIS notes the changes are informed by BIS’s experience of licensing, classifying, and enforcing the export control requirements specific to these items over the past year it has had them under its purview, and also its experience conducting outreach and answering questions from the public.
Through these "technical corrections," BIS is adding several new notes to clarify the items intended to be captured by its controls, and is also making changes to certain ECCNs that may impact self-classifications. For example, the final rule removes and reserves ECCN 0A501.y.2 to .y.5 because BIS has determined most items that would otherwise meet the control parameters under 0A501.y.2 to y.5 were subject to the EAR prior to March 9, 2020 (the effective date of the Commerce January 23 rule) and are designated as EAR99 based on paragraph (b)(1) of “specially designed.” It is important to carefully review this final rule in advance of the effective date.

Comment Period Closes on ATF Proposed Rule to Revise Definition of Firearm Frame or Receiver

On May 21, 2021, ATF published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to provide new regulatory definitions of "firearm frame or receiver," "frame or receiver," and certain other terms, like "readily." The NPRM also proposes to amend the regulations on firearm markings and recordkeeping." The comment period on this proposed rulemaking closed at midnight on Thursday, August 19, 2021, and according to the website, garnered close to 300,000 comments. Reeves & Dola submitted a comment, a copy of which is available here.
The above alert is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed or used as legal advice. Receipt of this alert does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Questions about this alert may be directed to:

Johanna Reeves: 202-715-9941, [email protected]
Katherine Heubert: 202-715-9940, [email protected]
About Reeves & Dola
Reeves & Dola is a Washington, DC law firm that specializes in helping clients navigate the highly regulated and complex world of manufacturing, sales and international trade of defense and commercial products. We have a deep understanding of the Federal regulatory process, and use our expertise in working with a variety of Federal agencies to assist our clients with their transactional and regulatory needs.
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