Wordsmithing for Gunsmiths

Recently, we brought you a two-part blog on the perils of federal definitions of “guns,” including that federal statutes and regulations can – and do – differ.

Today, we want to continue to emphasize the critical importance of the definition sections of statutes, this time at the state level.  Connecticut, Maryland, and New York have all enacted gun control legislation in the past 6-months.  CT, MD, and NY used “gun” vocabulary that differs from federal definitions and which even made changes in prior definitions in the particular state.

If you are a manufacturer situated in or doing business in one of these states, it is important that you take the time to review these new definition sections.  The burden is on you to learn whether a restriction or ban applies to one or more of your products in one or more of these states.  It could prove an insufficient defense at the state level to portray your manufacturing decisions as being influenced only by federal definitions.

This is also true of lists of firearms.  While state lists of banned weapons lists by name the manufacturers and models, one or more of your products could still be banned.  The thrust of the state statutes is to ban not only the specified firearms, but, also, to ban firearms which are sufficiently similar.

The challenge the states present to manufacturers with this “copycat” approach is two-fold.  First, it requires manufacturers to guess at which specific firearm attribute landed the product on the list.  Second, it requires manufacturers to know the technical specifications of competitor products on the list.  Statutory language runs from “copycat” to “copy” to “duplicate.”

Altogether, it means that the bottom line for manufacturers is federal statute definitions, federal regulation definitions, state definitions, and then CT/MD/NY definitions plus CT/MD lists.  To remain compliant at both federal and state levels, side-by-side definitions and product lists are going to be a critical in-house resource.

To learn more about the new legislation passed in CT, MD, NY, and CO, please visit the Orchid Advisors for a virtual roundtable library for our program that was webcast on Thursday, June 20 (part 1) and June 27 (part 2).  Orchid Advisors roundtables are offered free of charge.

The following materials referenced in this blog are available on the Orchid Advisors on-line research library by clicking on these hyperlinks:
Colorado HB-1224 (2013);
Connecticut GA-1160 (2013);
Connecticut SB-1094 (2013), revisions to GA-1160;
Maryland SB-281 (2013); and,
New York SB-2230 (2013).

rev. 7/15/2013