Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

INTERPORT, INC. v. MAGAW

April 16, 1996

INTERPORT, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN MAGAW, DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, AND FIREARMS, and GEORGE WEISE, COMMISSIONER, U.S. CUSTOMS SERVICE, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SPORKIN

MEMORANDUM OPINION

 This matter comes before the Court on cross-motions for summary judgment. Plaintiff alleges that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms ("ATF") was arbitrary and capricious, and exceeded its authority, in denying an application to import firearms for sale to local law enforcement agencies where the importer had failed to attach a purchase order form, as required by the ATF.

 BACKGROUND

 This case involves a challenge to the legal requirements for importation of firearms into the United States. The relevant statute is found at 26 U.S.C. § 5844, which provides that:

 
No firearm shall be imported or brought into the United States or any territory under its control or jurisdiction unless the importer establishes under regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary, that the firearm to be imported or brought in is--
 
(1) being imported or brought in for the use of the United States or any department, independent establishment, or agency thereof or any State or possession or any political subdivision thereof; or
 
(2) being imported or brought in for scientific or research purposes; or
 
(3) being imported or brought in solely for testing or use as a model by a registered manufacturer or solely for use as a sample by a registered importer or registered dealer;
 
except that, the Secretary may permit the conditional importation or bringing in of a firearm for examination and testing in connection with classifying the firearm.

 26 U.S.C. § 5844 (1995).

 Pursuant to its statutory grant of authority, on August 3, 1971, the ATF adopted a regulation requiring any importer to establish "to the satisfaction of the Director" that the firearm is being imported for one of three permissible purposes: (1) for use by a governmental entity, (2) for scientific or research purposes, or (3) for use as a sample. 27 C.F.R. § 179.111(a) (1992). The regulation also requires any person desiring to import a firearm into the United States to file with the Director an application, referred to as Form 6, executed under penalty of perjury. Id. The application must include a "detailed explanation of why the importation of the firearms falls within the standards" set out by the regulation. Id.

 Although not expressly mandated by the regulation, the ATF over the past approximately 16 years has in practice required that all applications to import firearms for sale to government entities be accompanied by a purchase order from the government entity. This purchase order requirement is found in ATF Ruling 80-8 which holds that "a licensee's application to import surplus military firearms ... for law enforcement officers will not be approved unless accompanied by a purchase order from ... any department, agency or political subdivision of any State." ATF Ruling 80-8, ATF Q.B. 1980-2.

 In this case, plaintiff, Interport, Inc. ("Interport"), wishes to import firearms for use by certain local governmental entities. Interport purchased overseas and had shipped 598 foreign-made machine guns to a secure storage facility located in San Francisco, known as Foreign Trade Zone # 3 ("FTZ # 3"). *fn1" Plaintiff intended to store the weapons at FTZ # 3 until it was able lawfully to import the weapons. On June 23, 1994, the U.S. Customs Service (Customs) informed the operator of FTZ # 3 that its high security storage areas were no longer adequate for the storage of "Title II Weapons." When the operator of FTZ # 3 decided not to upgrade the facility to meet the requirements for storage of weapons such as those owned by plaintiff, Customs informed Interport that it must transfer its weapons to an approved storage facility by October 14, 1994. Failure to do so would cause Customs to treat the weapons as abandoned and it would assume custody of the weapons.

 On September 29, 1994, plaintiff submitted a Form 6 application to ATF, requesting approval to import the 598 machine guns stored at FTZ # 3 into the United States. Although plaintiff stated that it intended to sell the weapons to governmental entities, the application did not include a purchase order form. In a letter attached to the application, Interport explained that its request was prompted by its inability to find another suitable ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.