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Old 6th February 2016, 05:02 PM
blueboy blueboy is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2014
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Default Scopes

I am of the understanding that US customs require certain forms to be filled in to export scopes, this scope came through US customs with full description of item, plus price all marked up.

It came through UK customs and I had to pay import duty on this scope.

Most companies in the US cannot be botherd to fill in such forms,its to much trouble for them, I made contact with one store over there and they wanted me to get such forms sorted.

I believe it clearly states on the internet what is required to export a scope from the States.Rules and restrictions on exporting rifle scopes from the USA

I have done the research on US Dept of Commerce regulations and restrictions on exporting rifle scopes and associated mounting devices (rings, bases, tools) from USA to Australia. THE BOTTOM LINE (as of October 2014): 1. Rimfire rifle scopes are classified as ECCN OA987 under the US Dept of Commerce BIS export rules. 2. Mounts (rings and bases) and tools for mounting optical sights are classified as ECCN EAR99 under the US Dept of Commerce BIS export rules. 3. There are no USA Dept of Commerce or State restrictions or controls on the export of ECCN OA987 and EAR99 classified items to Australia, UK or New Zealand. USA Dept of Commerce rules classify export of a ECCN OA987 scopes and EAR99 mounts and mounting tools to these countries as NLR, or "No License Required" (although restrictions may apply to high powered military specification scopes or scopes with night vision function). 4. For imports to Australia, Australian Customs has restrictions for import of specified firearms parts and accessories, but there are NO RESTRICTIONS on the import of rifle scopes or mounts. The Australian Customs fact sheet that specifies restricted firearms parts and accessories is available from: I have worked through the detail of this process below and provided relevant links so others can check for their own countries. THE DETAILS: There are 40 countries that have signed up to the Wassenaar Agreement on Export Control for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods & Technologies (see According to this agreement, every item has what's called an Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) that determines the level of export control. In the US these export regulations and controls are administered by the US Department of Commerce Riflescopes for hunting, etc are classified as Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 0A987. This from the US Dept of Commerce BIS (Bureau of Industry & Security) website : "What is the ECCN for riflescopes or hunting scopes? ECCN 0A987 controls specific sighting devices, their associated optical elements, and adjustment mechanisms. Please see the entry for a detailed description of what is controlled. Sighting devices that are not specified in this ECCN or elsewhere on the Commerce Control List, and are not suject to the jurisdiction of the Department of State, are EAR99. " The full text of ECCN 0A987 can be found here: but the list of items controlled includes: a. Telescopic sights. b. Holographic sights. c. Reflex or ``red dot'' sights. d. Reticle sights. e. Other sighting devices that contain optical elements. f. Laser pointing devices designed for use on firearms. g. Lenses, other optical elements and adjustment mechanisms for articles in paragraphs a, b, c, d or e. So pretty much any scope that target shooters or hunters or farmers (for vermin control) might be interested in. Knowing that these items are controlled, we then need to cross-reference the ECCN product classification with the Commerce Control List (CCL) list of counties that shows the groups of products for which export restrictions apply, country by country. Access the Commerce Control List here: Now items under ECCN 0A987 are controlled under the Firearms Convention (FC), Crime Control (CC) and the United Nations Arms Embargo (UN). For our purposes, we only need to look at FC and CC (presuming you don't live in Iraq or North Korea... etc) If we go down the CCL until we get to Canada we see that there is an "X" in the box under FC1 (Firearms Convention), so export restrictions apply and an export license is required. However, if we scroll down the matrix to restrictions for Australia there is no "X" in the matrix for FC1, and no "X" in the matrix for CC, so the USA Dept of Commerce rules classify export of ECCN OA987 rifle scopes and EAR99 scope mounts and mounting tools to Australia as NLR, or "No License Required". We should be able to purchase a scope in the USA and export it to Australia without requiring an export license or any paperwork. The same is true for New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Note however, whist this is literally the correct, it does not mean that any USA vendor or freight forwarding service can be bothered to understand the devil in the detailed US Dept of Commerce regulations, nor that they should be willing to take on any exposure to risk when it is simply easier to say "no". Unfortunately, there have been a number of high profile cases where sporting goods outfitters have been prosecuted under US Export Regulations, and this has influenced their willingness export a scope anywhere without a license. To make things even more complicated, there is a footnote that refers to the US Dept of Commerce regulation 742.6(a)(3) for special restrictions that apply to military commodities, including riflescopes manufactured to "military specifications" under the ECCN classification 0A919. Scopes that fall within the 0A919 classification are subject to different restrictions because, in addition to the FC1 restrictions, they are subject to International Trade in Arms Regulations (ITAR) details the regulations covering the export of defence related equipment. In the US, those goods and technologies that constitute "defence related equipment" is governed by the US Munitions List (USML), which can be found here: Section 121.1 (General), Category I(f) states that the USML includes riflescopes manufactured to "military specifications". Whilst there is no definition of what "military specifications" actually means, the net result is that there is little chance of getting a high power scope exported, particularly one that that has a 'tactical' or Mil-Dot reticle or some night vision function. That being said, no one can argue that the special provisions restrictions that apply to USML military commodities can reasonably apply to shorter range, lower magnification rimfire rifle and air-rifle scopes, and consequently such scopes must be classified as OA987 under the US Dept of Commerce BIS export rules. CONCLUSION There is no reasonable basis for suggesting that rimfire or air rifle scopes, scope mounts or mounting tools are subject to US Dept of Commerce BIS export restrictions to Australia, UK or New Zealand. These ECCN 0A987 and EAR99 goods are classified by the US Dept of Commerce as NLR, or "No License Required" for export to Australia, UK or New Zealand. If anyone wants to dispute this information, go right ahead, but please provide specific information and references and direct links to the official rules and regs. Angus Campbell (with thanks to willie_gunn)
Tags: export restrictions shipping rifle scope us department of commerce export regulations
asked 1 year ago in Shopping in the USA by Angus C

1 Answer

Hi Angus Campbell,

Thank you for the information. Our company's policy is that we don't ship guns

Last edited by blueboy; 6th February 2016 at 05:30 PM.
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