The State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) on June 1, 2021 announced that a final rule from January 2020, which moved 3D-printed guns out from control under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) over to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), is now in effect. See Federal Register notice of January 23, 2020. Although the final rule was originally set to go into effect in March 2020, a court challenge, including the issuance of a preliminary injunction, prevented the implementation of the final rule. On April 27, 2021, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion lifting the injunction that had blocked final implementation of the rule. Therefore, software and technical data related to 3D printing of firearms or components are now exclusively controlled by the EAR. The Department of Commerce issued a notice on June 1, 2021 announcing the transfer of jurisdiction of such technology and software to the EAR, and noted that its Final Rule controlling certain firearms, guns and related articles and technology is now fully implemented. See Federal Register Notice of January 23, 2021.

BIS has published guidance relating to the final rule in the form of 119 Frequently Asked Questions. The guidance outlines BIS’s approach to the controls, including recordkeeping, registering and applying for licenses, brokering controls, license exceptions, and clearance requirements. It also defines certain key terms to distinguish, among other things, additive manufacturing and 3D printing. For additional information, see SmarTrade Update of July 10, 2020.