August 20, 2021
By David M. Fortier, Senior Field Editor
The US State Department, in retaliation for the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny, imposed further sanctions on Russia. These new sanctions include banning the importation of ammunition beginning September 7, 2021.
The banning of the importation of Russian ammunition is something many in the industry expected to eventually happen, so it didn’t come as a huge shock. However, it will deal another blow to American sportsmen, recreational shooters and the blue-collar firearm owner already dealing with an ongoing ammunition shortage.
The announcement was posted on the State Department’s website Friday, August 20, 2021. Some of the announcement is copied below:
Published by the State Department August 20, 2021
CBW ACT SANCTIONS
Description of Sanctions: Pursuant to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (the CBW Act), the United States will impose a second round of sanctions on the Russian Federation over its use of a “Novichok” nerve agent in the August 2020 poisoning of Russian opposition figure Aleksey Navalny.
New sanctions imposed today under the CBW Act include:
Restrictions on the permanent imports of certain Russian firearms. New and pending permit applications for the permanent importation of firearms and ammunition manufactured or located in Russia will be subject to a policy of denial.
Additional Department of Commerce export restrictions on nuclear and missile-related goods and technology pursuant to the Export Control Reform Act of 2018.
These sanctions also include a continuation of measures imposed on March 2, 2021, as well as in 2018 and 2019 in response to the poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter, along with the waivers associated with these sanctions. For information about the waivers, please see 86 FR 14804 and 84 FR 44671.
Duration and Conditions for Removal
These latest sanctions on Russia pursuant to the CBW Act will take effect upon the publication of a Federal Register notice expected on September 7, 2021, and will remain in place for a minimum of 12 months. The sanctions can only be lifted after a 12-month period if the Executive Branch determines and certifies to Congress that Russia has met several conditions described in the CBW Act, 22 U.S.C. 5605(c), including (1) providing reliable assurances that it will not use chemical weapons in violation of international law, (2) it is not making preparations to use chemical weapons in the future, (3) it is willing to allow international inspectors to verify those assurances, and (4) it is making restitution to Mr. Navalny.
So what does this mean to you the American shooter and sportsman? A few things actually, with the most obvious being the elimination of Russian brands from the US market. This will not be immediate. I had a conversation with a source in the industry who stated certain importers have ammunition stockpiled, with enough on-hand to perhaps last a year. But, you can expect prices to rise, again. Eventually, the stockpiles will run out. When they do, certain calibers such as 7.62x39mm, 5.45x39mm, 9x18mm, 7.62x54mmR will become harder to find and more expensive. The elimination of Russian competition will likely also lead to higher prices down the road. None of this is good news for the American shooter.
It’s not good news for the Russian manufacturers either. The US commercial market is very important to them, and their survival. Barnaul in particular will likely be hit very hard. Tula Cartridge Works saw this coming years ago and tried to prepare for it in various manners. How successful they are, that remains to be seen. Being cut off from the US commercial market though will have a serious impact on the Russian ammunition industry. I had long said, if you wanted to really hurt the Russian ammunition industry, cut them off from the US market. Now that has happened.
Down the road, will see these sanctions lifted? Point #4 to get sanctions lifted reads, “(4) it is making restitution to Mr. Navalny.” That is NEVER going to happen, so it doesn’t look likely we will see the sanctions lifted any time soon. This is a developing story, so stay tuned to Firearms News for more updates!