The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives is looking for evidence of a rule that the government has exercised its Munitions List regulatory authority to cut off the importation of ammunition manufacturing equipment from China, Gun Rights Examiner was told today by a representative of ATF‘s Office of Public and Governmental Affairs.
A report yesterday by Gary North at The Tea Party Economist that the government has recently forbidden importation of such Chinese equipment has gun owners concerned that another avenue for citizens to obtain ammunition may have been intentionally closed off as part of the Obama administration’s executive actions to impose by fiat what the Congress will not.
Well-publicized shortages from unprecedented demand, coupled with massive government procurements, have left existing suppliers working around the clock and retailers imposing purchase limits on some items they must scramble to keep in stock. Additionally, reports that, instead of selling brass casings to reloaders, some military installations are destroying and selling them as scrap, have added to worries. A growing sentiment is that a shortage explained by some as a mere market reaction is being compounded with artificial stockouts caused by administration machinations.
After consulting with a knowledgeable retired ATF source for guidance, Gun Rights Examiner called the ATF Firearms and Explosives Import Branch and was put through to a “specialist” who appeared unaware of the situation and advised calling “Headquarters.” Gun Rights Examiner then spoke to a representative from the Office of Public and Governmental Affairs who, upon a cursory search for an applicable rule, said he was unable to locate one.
It should be noted that his inability to locate a ruling does not prove or disprove its existence. There may not be such a rule or there may be and it has just not been well-communicated throughout the Bureau or to the public. If it does exist, it may not even be new — this just may be the first time anyone has called it to wider attention. That such a determination is not (yet?) listed with other Rulings proves nothing either, as that list being incomplete is deemed by some critics to be what those who make arbitrary decisions prefer. And it may be a ruling communicated via a private letter, not generally distributed beyond its intended recipient and potentially very difficult to track down (and possibly even requiring a Freedom of Information Act request to do so).
Hopefully, things can be made clear more easily than that. The representative indicated he would have to check with others in the Bureau and took down this correspondent’s contact information, saying he would call back with what he found out. Gun Rights Examiner will continue to monitor this situation and attempt to validate the Chinese equipment import ban report, and will convey any additional information when it becomes known.