Firearms - Guides - Importation & Verification of Firearms, Ammunition and Implements of War - Arms Export Control Act

Arms Export Control Act

Arms Export Control Act of 1976 – 22 U.S.C. § 2778
The United States Munitions Import List

With respect to Section 38 of the AECA, only the permanent importation provisions are administered by ATF. Permanent and temporary export, as well as the temporary import provisions are administered by the Department of State. Importation regulations issued under this law are in 27 CFR Part 447 and are included in ATF P 5300.4 — Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide – 2014 Edition (Revised 3-7-15). See Part 447 of that publication.

The USMIL is compiled in conjunction with Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) and enumerates defense articles and defines defense services that may be imported into the United States under the provisions the AECA administered by ATF.

Articles on the USMIL also include items in a partially completed state (such as forgings, castings, extrusions, and machined bodies) that have reached a stage in manufacture where they have been clearly identified as defense articles. 27 CFR, § 447.22.

Anyone engaged in the business of importing articles on the U.S. Munitions Import List for commercial purposes must register with ATF as an importer under the AECA using ATF Form 4587 and pay the prescribed fee. 27 CFR §§ 447.31 and 447.32.

The term “firearms” is defined in 27 CFR § 447.11 as

"A weapon, and all components and parts therefore, not over .50 caliber which will or is designed to or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive, but shall not include BB and pellet guns, and muzzle loading (black powder) firearms (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) or firearms covered by Category 1(a) established to have been manufactured in or before 1898."

The provisions of 27 CFR § 447.2 in part, provide that all items on the USMIL which are “firearms” or “ammunition” as defined in 18 U.S.C § 921(a) are subject to the interstate and foreign commerce controls contained in Chapter 44 of Title 18 U.S.C and 27 CFR Part 478. If they are “firearms” within definition set out in 26 U.S.C § 5845(a), they are also subject to the provisions of 27 CFR Part 479.

Importation of Firearm Parts and Other Munitions Import List Articles

Firearm parts (other than parts for sporting shotguns), gas masks and other articles enumerated in the USMIL, 27 CFR § 447.21, also require an import permit ATF F 5330.3A (Form 6, Part I) .

Importers Registration

You may apply for registration by completing the ATF F 5330.4 (4587), Application To Register as an Importer of U.S. Munitions Import List Articles, in duplicate, and enclosing your check made payable to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Importer Registration Fee Schedule
$250 1 year
$500 2 years
$700 3 years
$850 4 years
$1000 5 years

* Fees subject to change by regulation.

The completed application Form 4587 and check must be mailed directly to the address indicated on the form.

Note: Once ATF has received and processed your application, one copy of the completed form will be returned to you with your registration number. You may then begin submitting ATF Forms 6 (including your registration number entered on Line 12) to the Firearms and Explosives Imports Branch for the commodities you intend to import.

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Last Reviewed September 22, 2016