Last week, Glenn Beck's website falsely suggested that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives' (ATF) Study on the Importability of Certain Shotguns will result in making certain shotguns illegal. In reality, there is little more to this story than Beck advancing another false narrative about President Obama and guns.
Following the lead of RedState.com, Beck's website The Blaze hyped a post titled "Could your shotgun soon be outlawed? Maybe, if the ATF has its way." The article warns that the "implications for all guns are chilling."
The ATF study expressly identifies its purpose as establishing the criteria used to determine importability. A determination of importability is required before a foreign gun manufacturer can import a gun into the United States. Nowhere in the study does the ATF suggest they're preparing to declare shotguns illegal, an action that could not be done using the importability statutes.
The ATF's proposed actions will have no impact on the domestic production or availability of any American-manufactured shotguns. Changes to what shotguns can be imported into the United States would not make any shotguns illegal to own, so owners of shotguns have nothing to fear.
Beck also discussed this story on his Fox News television program. From the April 18 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
Beck: Redstate's reporting today and you can bet that it's got [Obama regulatory official] Cass Sunstein's fingerprints all over it, that the ATF is now seeking to limit firearms, to limit firearms based on their definitions of the of what is appropriate for sporting use. I didn't even think that sporting use was even a consideration for the 2nd Amendment. Firearms for sporting. Who would have seen that one coming when the bill of rights was written
Since the 1968 passage of the Gun Control Act (GCA), "sporting purposes" has been used to define what firearms can be legally imported. It's also been used to legally classify firearms since 1934. As the study explains, "sporting purposes" relates the importability of firearms in this instance and would not result in a ban of the shotguns in question.