Why it'll be easier to import a gun

The Obama administration is moving to ease restrictions on the imports of guns, ammunition and other defense articles by extending the life of necessary permits.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is extending from one to two years the standard term of gun import permits, according to final regulations to be published in Friday’s Federal Register.


The agency contends the action will cut unnecessary red tape without jeopardizing public safety.

“Extending the term of import permits will result in a substantial cost and time savings for both the industry and ATF, and will not cause any discernible adverse effects,” the agency maintains.

The rule is slated to take effect in 60 days.

It comes at the urging of FireArms Import-Export Roundtable (FAIR) Trade Group, which filed a petition in 2010 requesting the change.

An agency review concluded that the action would slash its own paperwork burden, in addition to that of the industry, by reducing the time spent processing thousands of renewal applications each year.

The ATF estimates its annual savings would eclipse half a million dollars.

The regulations are being finalized over the objections from two public comment submissions.

“I think the nature of the items being shipped are of such gravity and danger that it is necessary to have strict limits on importation,” reads one of the comments.

The agency considered the objection but sided with a pair of public comments in support of the change.

“While the department acknowledges the commenter’s concern, it does not believe that extending the term of import permits from 1 year to 2 years will have a negative effect on public safety or national security,” the ATF concluded.

The action comes as part of the president’s government-wide regulatory look-back, which requires agencies to periodically review rules on their books and identify those that can be streamlined or repealed.

The directive, stemming from a 2011 executive order, is meant to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens.