I still contend - or am confused about the whole “importation” thing. I know that in general everyone thinks that bringing any quantity of ammunition into the country from another country is “importation”, and to most people this makes perfect sense because what else would you call it? However, through the course of researching AP pistol ammo laws I found that the official US Code, which supersedes all other departmental regulatory stuff defines ammunition “importation” as:
a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to importing ammunition as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the ammunition imported.
This is from 18 U.S.C. chapter 44 §921 definitions, part 21 - section F. Also, in part 22 of the same subsection and definition area it specifically describes the terms livelihood & profit:
The term “with the principal objective of livelihood and profit” means that the intent underlying the sale or disposition of firearms is predominantly one of obtaining livelihood and pecuniary gain, as opposed to other intents, such as improving or liquidating a personal firearms collection: Provided, that proof of profit shall not be required as to a person who engages in the regular and repetitive purchase and disposition of firearms for criminal purposes or terrorism.
The US Code laws are supposed to be the template for which all departmental policy is derived, but as anyone who has researched these laws knows, there are many things that are out of whack. So if you call the ATF and ask them about it, I’m sure they will all say “oh yeah to import ammo you need this, this, and this… in triplicate” But I think they are all missing the point of the term, or else aren’t familiar with the specifics of the term importation. They play it safe when advising on legal stuff.
Of course if you are not a U.S. citizen, then all bets are off and you may well need all the forms and permits and other things to bring these possessions of yours in. But I wonder if non-commercial quantities can be shipped in to US citizens without any paperwork then if it isn’t “importation”? And I would argue that collector endeavors are anything but “for-profit” enterprises since the quantities are so small and the cost is so high. We’ve talked about this before and I think Lew had contended that the BATF suggestions were to be the given way, but I just wonder if those guys are not getting the whole “importation” definition or if they’ve ever thought about it being an issue?
There are, of course still some hurdles for many individuals in other countries to be able to handle and ship ammo out of their own countries, but assuming they have all the permits required, I wonder if shipping something like 3 cartridges direct to a U.S. citizen though UPS or FedEX international is a problem? I would think that if the ATF found out (seems like they never would) they might come after you, but then a federal or state D.A. would actually research the matter and find the definition of “import” as it relates to ammo for the first time, and drop the case.