As some of you know, last year I filed a lawsuit challenging the State Department’s ITAR registration rules. It was kicked out of court on a technicality–because Leo Combat wasn’t actually being prosecuted, it lacked standing to challenge the rules. The result is perverse. The rules say that “manufacturers” of guns and gun parts must register, and also that a “single instance” of manufacturing is enough. But they also say that “research and development” doesn’t trigger the registration requirement. So…if I wanted to build 5 prototype guns to work the bugs out of a design, is that “manufacturing” or “research and development?” There’s no way to know, and if you get it wrong, it’s a felony.
The point of the Declaratory Judgment Act is to allow you to go to court to find out the answer to questions like this without risking going to prison. But the judge decided that in this case, I couldn’t get an answer without first paying the exorbitant fee. But the whole problem here is that $2,250 is too much for a tiny fledgling business to afford! Leo Combat can’t build guns without risking prosecution, and can’t go to court to challenge the rules without paying the fee, and can’t afford the fee.
I did put up a GoFundMe page, but only attracted a couple of donations. Thank you to my donors! You will be getting refunds.
I won’t be producing any guns any time soon, not even prototypes. Too much risk and too much expense. Probably I will surrender the FFL I obtained in 2015 because it’s useless.
Congratulations, Uncle Sam! You have prevented a small business from even trying to produce products for the public. Government is just another word for the things we do together!
Now, while Leo Combat won’t be making guns, I, personally, will continue the campaign against excessive regulation. I need a plaintiff who pays the ITAR fee but doesn’t export. I know of several and will be talking to them. If you have any suggestions please hit the contact page.