A recent executive order by President Obama contains new proposed gun control regulations that threaten freedom of speech by outdoor websites and blogs.
The Obama Administration has been conducting an overhaul of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which regulate the transport of “defense article” in and out of the United States. A recent executive order signed by President Obama contains a number of proposed gun control regulations that could potentially criminalize hundreds of outdoor websites, blogs, and forums.
…required for the development, production, operation, installation, maintenance, repair, overhaul, or refurbishing of a defense article.
Additionally, another section of the new proposed gun control regulations specifically states that:
Posting “technical data” to the Internet without a Department or other authorization is a violation of the ITAR even absent specific knowledge that a foreign national will read the “technical data.”
Okay, fair enough: posting information online about systems on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter would be a violation of ITAR, according to the new regulations. Seems simple right? Well, maybe not.
Depending on who is reading (and enforcing) these new regulations, the definition of “technical data” could very easily be construed to encompass a gun review posted online, a YouTube video describing how to clean or maintain a particular gun, or numerous other seemingly harmless pieces of information that are regularly posted online by outdoor-related websites or blogs on a daily basis.
Clearly there is a need for some sort of regulation regarding the export of information regarding major defense related items. However, there is a really big difference between a blog article detailing how to maintain and clean an AR-15 and detailed information about a bomber or missile system.
Is this a deliberate attempt by the current administration to enact some backdoor gun control regulations through executive order? Or merely a simple administrative oversight?
Regardless of the intent of these new gun control regulations, penalties for ITAR violations can be severe and may include prison time and hefty fines.
I would breathe much easier if there were specific exemptions added to the new regulations that would draw a specific line that exempts the gun reviews and similar works by outdoor websites and blogs from the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
You can view the all the details of the new proposed gun control regulations here.
The federal government is accepting public comment on these proposed gun control regulations until August 3, 2015. Please let them know how you feel about these new definitions!