On Friday, July 22, President Barack Obama issued yet another sweeping gun control measure that could put small gun manufacturers and gunsmiths out of business. The executive order came just before the Democratic National Convention and could mean big trouble for mom and pop gunsmiths that are already struggling to get by. Obama and the U.S. State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) will now label all commercial gunsmiths as “manufacturers” for performing even simple work such as threading a barrel or fabricating a small custom part for an older firearm.
Any business wishing to be labeled as a manufacturer will be forced to pay a $2,250 registration fee to the DDTC every year they plan on performing such services.
The new ruling further convolutes the already blurry line between “gunsmithing” and “manufacturing.” Under the new order a gunsmith could be labeled as a manufacturer regardless of whether or not they manufacture weapons. Performing regular maintenance or replacing parts on a firearm are enough to earn an individual or business the title of “manufacturer” and the hefty $2,250 registration fee that goes along with it.
The DDTC declares that gunsmithing includes only very simple procedures, such as the one-for-one drop-in replacement of parts that do not require cutting, drilling, or machining for installation. Any repair that requires cutting, drilling, or machining will require the gunsmith to go thought the long and arduous process of obtaining a permit before making any repairs. The DDTC does offer consulting for any parties that are confused as to what operations qualify as manufacturing. While this may appear helpful it requires gunsmiths to go through even more red tape before inevitably being told to apply for a permit.
Critics of the measure claim it is discriminatory towards smaller companies with less liquid assets and accuse the Federal government of attempting to weed out any small companies that cannot afford the money for a permit or the time it takes to jump through all the bureaucratic hoops needed to obtain a permit.