Why the Russian AK Ban Matters to You

The simple response to the recent Executive Order issued by Our Dear Leader banning the importation of small arms from Russia is to say “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 or one from a country other than Russia.”

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

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Setting aside the fact that the words “legitimate sporting purpose” cannot be found in the U.S. Constitution and have 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 the attention span of a squirrel with ADD, 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”. 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 the 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.

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 Markel

Founder & President at Student of the Gun
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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  1. Todd C

    Every citizen should be alarmed by this. If nobody stands up to this kind of action they will try it again with other weapons and with other non-firearm related issues.

  2. Roger

    Losing gun rights is like losing one’s virginity. Once it is gone, it will not come back. Do not let it happen, Speak out and fight back against politicians. Remember, they were elected and sworn in to uphold the constitution of the United States. Do not let these weenies have their way against us normal people!

    1. jmike50


      Why would anyone post in a discussion thread that which doesn’t have anything to do with the subject matter and should, in any case, be discussed privately?

      It boggles the mind!

  3. Jerry Black

    I don’t own an AK yet, but would like to in the future. It seems to me the opportunity to own a true Russian AK from the Cold War era would be way cool. Unfortunately, the price of those firearms just went up! Professor Paul, how do we turn this around now? What steps can I, as a responsible firearm owner, do to change this?

  4. GunnerscornerTBOC

    We must put a stop to this!!! I love my AK47. I just about to buy a Siaga 12, but as always day late and $100 short.
    I am so over this little kid we have in office. We need to STOP them/him now!!!

  5. Muncy Zuber

    Totally agree with Todd C’s Comments and if Congress does nothing to STOP these overreaching actions then why are we PAYING THEM. If WE do NOTHING then we get the Government WE DESERVE!

  6. Bruce Parker

    Congress needs to Take Away Obama’s Cell Phone and Pen! Congress and Congress Alone makes Laws, Not an Out of Control President! This is Why it is Important to join Organizations like The NRA, NAGR and Others that Are Fighting against this type of action Daily!…

  7. Walt Kuleck

    Rule of law? . A nation of regulation promulgated by unelected “regulators-for-life”!

  8. Mike

    I agree ! And people need to wake up and realize there’s always hidden agendas . And that they NEVER let a good crisis go to waste . Don’t be selfish and think O it doesn’t affect me !!!

  9. Mike

    And also this SUCKS cause I would have loved to get an authentic Russian AK or 2.

  10. Pingback: SOTG 122 - ATF: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial - Tuesday

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