What is the difference between what’s currently included in the FTE “build kits” and what will be included in the FTE “build kits” in the future?
Currently, in addition to other needed tools and materials, SDI provides students with an incomplete lower (sometimes known in the industry as an “80 percenter”). Because a firing mechanism cannot be installed in the incomplete lower until material is removed, it does not meet the current definition of a firearm and therefore does not need to be shipped to and from an individual or business holding an FFL (Federal Firearms License) and then transferred to the non-FFL consumer. In the future, SDI will be providing a complete, serialized lower in some way, and we don’t yet know whether that will be in the form of a stripped lower or a completely built firearm.
Why is this transition happening?
For a long time, SDI has debated whether or not it would be worth the effort and management required to maintain an FFL for the school. Transitioning away from incomplete lowers (or “80 percenters”) would greatly impact the school’s ability to develop more Armorer courses and options because not all firearms have an “80 percenter” option. Additionally, we recognize the political landscape at the present is uncertain, and as many students know, we’re already dealing with delays on the “80 percenter” build kit parts. It is our intention to better serve our students by transitioning away from relying on “80 percenters” and towards a more readily available product within the industry.
What is the plan to transition to full firearms and how long will it take before this plan is enacted?
SDI is in the beginning stages of the FFL licensing process and unfortunately cannot make the wait move any faster. Once licensing is accomplished, we will begin the transition process. There are many moving pieces to this process, including obtaining additional space, application processes, regulatory notices, and purchasing. We appreciate our students’ patience through this process and are still several months away from fully implementing the change.
Can SDI serialize the lowers as an option before sending them out?
Possibly. For now, as we research all potential outcomes, nothing will change to the current process and unfinished lowers will remain not serialized.
Will I receive my build kit?
Our intent is to continue to provide a build kit. We simply want to ensure that we are meeting the legal standards at the time.
If the build kits cannot be sent out, what will be sent in its place, if anything?
We are currently working on alternatives that include a kit of some kind. If the information we receive points to kits being impossible in any format, then alternate plans will be implemented. We understand that hands-on training is a cornerstone of SDI education, and as of now, we are confident that we will be able to find a solution that includes a build kit.
What will the FTE courses look like after the transition to full firearms? Will the curriculum and materials be different?
Currently our intention is for those courses to remain the same if these changes allow for that. It may change some processes, but we are actively trying to protect our students and their learning in this process. If kit parts change, curriculum will naturally need to change with it. If that happens, we intend to continue offering information on milling an incomplete lower insomuch as we can in accordance with federal regulation, though no decisions have been made on whether that content would be linked to assessments.
Will all of the current materials be sent out even if the regulations surrounding the 80% lowers change?
We will continue to ship materials as they are available until such time as the regulations change. If that happens, we will come up with palatable solutions for students who are owed materials.
If I am currently in my FTE course or already completed it and am waiting on materials, will I still receive those materials?
We are working diligently to make this happen and will continue to until such time as there is a regulation change. If that happens, we will come up with palatable solutions for students who are owed materials.
Why doesn’t SDI just simply not comply with these proposed changes based on 2A?
That is not an option as it puts our students at risk of losing access to their education. We will find a legal alternative to continue to educate our students. A great example of the industry being good citizens is the work that was done involving the changes made in ITAR a few years ago. There is a proper way to make our voices heard and we will use every opportunity afforded to us to do so. We will also ask each of you to join us if you so choose.