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Our Dear Leader recently signed an Executive Order banning the importation of small arms from Russia. There is a simple response to this EO,“I don’t care. I don’t own or desire to own an AK.”.  An additionally common response is, “No big deal, I’ll buy one of the new American AK’s”. Likewise, another responce is, “I’ll buy one from a country other than Russia.”

There is something many of you may not be aware of. A couple of years ago during the advent of the SHOT Show 2013 the BATFE issued out a letter. This letter was a type of questionnaire/memorandum to FFL holders nationwide. In that letter, they specifically addressed the Saiga 12 magazine-fed shotgun. They posed the question/made a statement as to whether or not said shotgun had a “legitimate sporting purpose”.

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Lets set aside the fact that the words “legitimate sporting purpose” cannot be found in the U.S. Constitution. Also set aside it has no genuine legal bearing as to what type of firearm you purchase. Those of us in the industry saw the red flag waving. We saw a new “Streetsweeper” ban coming.


For those of you too young to remember or with a shitty attention span, let me refresh your memories. During the early 1990’s the Striker-12 and Streetsweeper cylinder fed 12 gauge shotguns saw a spike in popularity.

In 1994 The ATF, citing the National Firearms Act as their authority, decided on their own to reclassify the Striker-12 and Streetsweeper (both revolvers-style guns with legal 18-inch barrel lengths) as “Destructive Devices”. Therefore, this reclassification immediately put these guns in a similar situation as a newly made machine-gun. Although not a technical “ban”, ownership now came with a steep price and excruciatingly complex regulations. As they intended, the Striker-12 market died immediately.

Unlike the Striker-12 which had a comparatively small following, the Saiga 12 is a wildly popular design and is used nationwide by tens of thousands of shooting competitors during 3-Gun and similar matches. Although they might have wanted to reclassify the Saiga 12 as a Destructive Device, doing so would have been troublesome politically because the guns actually are used for “sporting purpose” every week. Keep in mind, the Saiga 12 ATF memo was sent out to FFL holders long before any crisis in Ukraine.

The WASR rifle in full recoil with the RAZR muzzle brake installed.

The WASR rifle in full recoil with the RAZR muzzle brake installed.

Fast forward to July 2014 and the ruling class saw the golden opportunity to finish the job they started eighteen months earlier. Unable to legitimately ban the Saiga 12 via bureaucratic memorandum, the occupational government in D.C. seized on the “global crisis” as an excuse to issue a ban on small arms from Russia and B-I-N-G-O the Saiga 12 is now unlawful to import into the United States. No hearings, no bills, no public notice, no vote; legislation via Executive Fiat.

No Constitutionality

Whether or not you own an AK or even own a firearm, this type of end-around`, we’ll do what we want regardless of the Constitution, behavior should scare the color right out of your hair. Look me in the eye and tell me that the BATFE could not wake up one day and reclassify all rifles fed with detachable magazines as “Destructive Devices”.  They have been granted executive authority to act unilaterally as they see fit. Could not Our Dear Leader issue similar E.O.s banning the import of all arms and ammunition as a method for dealing with the “global crisis”.

We are far gone from the days of the ruling class in D.C. asking “What does the U.S. Constitution allow?” and are squarely into the “Who has the guts to stop us?” phase. Sadly, the answer to that last question is not many. Whether or not you give two wits about a Russian AK, you need to ask yourself, do you truly wish to reside in a Representative Republic or are you satisfied to allow the self-appointed Oligarchy to make the rules for you?

Let us know your answer in the comments below. If you haven’t yet, sign up for our newsletter and enjoy the complimentary material.

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Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a U.S. Marine, Police Officer, Professional Bodyguard, and Small Arms and Tactics Instructor. Mr. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for nearly twenty years with hundreds and hundreds of articles in print. Paul is a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows and subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force. Mr. Markel has been teaching safe and effective firearms handling to students young and old for decades and has worked actively with the 4-H Shooting Sports program. Paul holds numerous instructor certifications in multiple disciplines and a Bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution; nonetheless, he is and will remain a dedicated Student of the Gun.

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