Douglas Haig made the news by being the guy who sold ammunition to the Vegas shooter. He made news again for being charged with manufacturing armor piercing ammunition without a license, and “conspiracy.”
Evidently Doug Haig had been making military ammunition under contract for the DOD as early as 1991 from his now defunct website (still available through archive.org though). In 2012 he incorporated Specialized Military Ammo as a limited liability corporation in Arizona, listing some family members on the documents of incorporation.
Now the federal code says that “armor piercing bullets” need to be above 22 caliber, but the ATF makes no distinction, even banning 5.45×39 ammunition with a steel core for importation despite the fact that 5.45 is .21 caliber. The only “non-lead” solution right now is that it be rimfire and 40gr or less according to the last ATF regulatory guidance letter I’ve read.
But, just in case anyone wants to get technical on the letter of the law rather than the ATF’s arbitrary and uncontrollable enforcement of the matter, SMAammo did sell 30 caliber armor piercing incendiary ammunition.
So for sure he was selling API in both 5.56 and 7.62 API options.
The question I have here is how he could have purchased all of those incendiary and API bullets without a Type 10 FFL or importing without a Type 11 FFL. There isn’t a whole lot of opportunity to buy those bullets from the usual suspects in the reloading world, and anyone selling projectiles that go “boom” to an LLC would probably want a copy of the FFL to make sure their ass was covered.
Now, it is perfectly legal to buy tracer projectiles and load ’em up and have a good time. Graf’s has surplus 5.56 tracer rounds for 18 cents a piece right now. Plenty of other ammunition companies sell surplus tracer ammunition, and it is perfectly legal to buy them and take them out and have a good time.
So, maybe Specialized Military Ammo LLC did have an FFL, such as a Type 11 to import the bullets, but not a Type 10 to manufacture ammunition or have Special Occupational Tax class 2 paperwork? That would make sense, since the FFL should have satisfied any companies selling incendiary or API projectiles to SMA might not have requested the SOT paperwork for their transactional record keeping purposes.
Now, even if Doug Haig has some paperwork, but not the ATF correct paperwork, he’s already sunk, but the real kicker is the “conspiracy” charge. I think the best defense against that is that Doug Haig’s fingerprints and business address was found on the box of unused ammo in the hotel room, if he was actually “conspiring” he should have done a better job hiding it. But, I think the real reason the “conspiracy” charge is ticked on there is for scare value.
Failure to register as a manufacturer, dealer, or importer has a max 10 year sentencing guideline. The “conspiracy” part is 20 years, so Doug Haig is looking at potentially 30 years of time in club fed. This makes sense because the US Attorney will likely offer to drop the conspiracy charge, since it would be a bitch to prove anyways, in return for pleading guilty for the “manufacture of armor piercing ammunition without license” charge. 30 years with a jury or 3 years if you sign here and now, take your pick. This is one of the ways that US Attorneys get their extremely high conviction rate.
Federal sentencing guidelines “cheat sheet” https://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/training/annual-national-training-seminar/2012/3_Selected_Firearms_Offenses_Summary_Charts.pdf
Section 922: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/922
Specialty Military Ammo corporate registration: http://www.arizonacorporates.com/corp/311643.html
A quick primer on how twisted Federal armor piercing laws are: http://www.att-tactical.com/att_ammunition.html