Update On Russian
Sanctions Impacting
Firearms, Ammunition Imports

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Editor’s Note: The following is an update to sanctions imposed by the U.S. Department of State against the imports of Russian ammunition and firearms in response to the Russian Federation’s attempted assassination of Aleksey Navalny last August. To read the original article, visit shootingindustry.com/dealer-advantage/ban-on-russian-ammo-imports.

Effective Sept. 7, 2021, the U.S. State Department published a notice in the Federal Register on Russian sanctions: Any ATF Form 6s applications to import Russian-made firearms or ammunition that were not approved prior to 12:01 a.m. will not be processed until the sanction is lifted — which will remain in place for at least a year and “until further notice.”

Prior to the published notice, Charlie Brown, owner of MKS Supply and importer of Russian-based BarnauL Ammunition, shared the concerns his company had on these sanctions — and the potential impact on U.S. sportsmen and women.

“Realistically, it’s not a sanction, it’s a well-planned opportunity to attack a viable business in the U.S,” he said. “It’s going to hurt a lot more sportsmen and businesses in the U.S. than it is Russian nationals.”

With the dust settling since the Sept. 7 notice, we sat down with Kara Brown-Boesenberg, MKS executive vice president and minority owner, to glean additional insights.

24 Months Before Full Effect

In short, the sanctions were recorded exactly as expected following the initial announcement of the incoming sanctions in a fact sheet published by the U.S. State Department Aug. 20.

“It’s going to affect us just as we had anticipated, which will mean no new or pending Form 6s will be approved and they are going to allow us to ship out on our currently approved Form 6s,” Brown-Boesenberg confirmed.

MKS Supply’s approved Form 6s will enable the company to continue importing BarnauL products for up to 24 months.

“We anticipate we will be allowed to import for the entire 24-month approval period of our Form 6. We have large amounts approved, and as long as nothing changes at this point — based on how it’s written — we will be able to import as long as our forms are approved and valid.”

Kara Brown-Boesenberg, MKS Supply Executive VP & Minority Owner

“We anticipate we will be allowed to import for the entire 24-month approval period of our Form 6,” she said. “We have large amounts approved, and as long as nothing changes at this point — based on how it’s written — we will be able to import as long as our forms are approved and valid.”

Brown-Boesenberg added this notice will elevate uncertainty.

“It does create uncertainty for the future. As it stands right now, the sanctions are for a minimum of 12 months — but they could go on forever unless a new administration overturns it. This creates several issues for the industry, as the availability of ammunition will be impacted and the uncertainty will impact hiring, too.”

MKS had worked with BarnauL to develop several new calibers and components for the U.S. market, but those projects have now been called off.

“We four calibers in the works, and one that was very close to being finished, but due to the details needed to get everything approved on the Form 6 application it wasn’t possible to finish ahead of the notice. Unless this is overturned, these will never make it to market here,” Brown-Boesenberg said.

The Biggest Impact

After 24 months, what happens next is anyone’s guess. One thing is for certain: The absence of Russian steel-cased ammunition will leave a significant hole to fill. MKS estimates steel-cased ammo makes up about a third of the U.S. market.

“The biggest impact is, of course, going to be economically and availability of ammunition for people who want to go out and pull the trigger.

It’s going to impact the consumer the most,” Brown-Boesenberg said. “Steel-cased ammo provided a check on brass-cased ammo prices, so they’ll be impacted, too.”

If demand stays at current levels, Brown-Boesenberg predicts the absence of steel-cased ammunition will exacerbate shortages in the market.

Get Involved

With anti-gun politicians and organizations seeking to capitalize on a Biden presidency and Democrat-controlled Congress, Brown-Boesenberg affirmed the industry needs to remain engaged and involved to fight off additional attacks on gun rights.

“Reaching out to your representative is a fantastic thing you can do to talk about the impact this is going to have on the shooting sports,” she said. “This sanction is a grab to appease the anti-gun crowd. Get involved!”

How do you see your business being impacted? Let us know: [email protected].