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HQ 967109

July 30, 2004

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 967109 ASM


TARIFF NO.: 4202.99.9000

Ms. Kerrie L. Goodyear
Global Fairways
6680 Brandt St., Suite 100
Romulus, MI 48174

RE: Revocation of NY G89340; Classification of Portable Locking Gun Cases; Containers of Heading 4202, HTSUSA

Dear Ms. Goodyear:

This is in regard to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) New York Ruling Letter (NY) G89340, issued to you on April 2, 2001. We have reviewed this ruling and determined that the classification provided for this merchandise is incorrect. This ruling revokes NY G89340 by providing the correct classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) for portable locking gun cases.

Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930, as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub.L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993) notice of the proposed revocation of NY G89340 was published on June 23, 2004, in Vol. 38, No. 26 of the Customs Bulletin. One comment was received in response to this notice.


The merchandise involves two styles of portable gun cases (item numbers SGS-1124R; SGS-1125R). The article identified as item number SGS-1124R is a rectangular shape (outside dimensions - 16.5 x 8.5 x 9 inches) double pistol case, constructed of aluminum, which stores up to 4 pistols. The case features an ergonomic carrying handle, heavy-duty combination locks, and reinforced metal corners. The interior of the case includes impact resistant foam. The case is approved for airline travel and includes a zippered travel cover. The article identified as item number SGS-1125R is a rectangular shape (outside
dimensions – 32 x 8.5 x 13.5 inches) double breakdown case constructed of aluminum which stores two break down shot guns. The case features mylar wheels built into the case for travel convenience, an ergonomic carrying handle, and an interior with impact resistant foam. The outside of the case has been reinforced with metal corners and is fitted with heavy-duty key locks and combination locks. The case has been approved for airline travel and includes a zippered travel cover.

In NY G89340, dated April 2, 2001, CBP found that item numbers SGS-1124R and SGS-1125R were classified in subheading 7616.99.5090, HTSUSA, which provides for “Other articles of aluminum: Other: Other: Other, Other: Other: Other”.


What is the proper classification for the merchandise?


Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the heading and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI may then be applied. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (“ENs”) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

Heading 4202, HTSUSA, is a two part heading which covers only the articles specifically named therein and similar containers. In this instance, we are concerned with the first portion of the heading which covers trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases, school satchels, spectacle cases, binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, holsters and similar containers.

One comment was received in response to the proposed revocation of NY G89340. The commentor suggests that, pursuant to a GRI 3(a) or (c) analysis, the subject articles are classifiable as “reinforced safes” in heading 8303, HTSUSA.

We disagree with the commentor’s assertion that these articles are classifiable pursuant to a GRI 3 analysis, based on the claim that they are prima facie classifiable both as “gun cases” in heading 4202, HTSUSA, and as “safes” in heading 8303, HTSUSA. The subject articles are not “reinforced safes” within the meaning of heading 8303, HTSUSA. The EN’s to heading 8303, provide:

This heading covers containers and strong-room doors designed for securing valuables, jewels, documents, etc., against theft and fire.

Safes and strong-boxes of this heading are steel containers of which the walls are armoured (i.e., made of high-strength alloy steel) or of sheet steel reinforced with, for example, reinforced concrete. They are used in banks, offices, hotels, etc. They are fitted with very secure locks and often with air- tight doors and double walls, the intervening space usually being filled with heat-resistant materials. The heading includes strong-room doors (whether or not with door frames) and safe deposit lockers for strong-rooms as used in banks, safe deposits, factories, etc., where larger storage space is required.

The heading also includes metal cash or deed boxes (with or without internal compartments). These are portable boxes (incorporating a key-operated or a combination lock), sometimes with double walls, which by virtue of their design, constituent material, etc., offer reasonable protection against theft and fire. Collecting-boxes, money-boxes, etc., also fall in the heading, provided they have similar provisions for security; otherwise they are classified according to the constituent metal or as toys.

The subject articles are containers, which require a locking system that is necessary for the portability and transportation of inherently dangerous objects, i.e., “break down shot guns” and “pistols”. Although we recognize that the aluminum exterior, reinforced metal corners, and heavy duty locks may also serve to prevent against theft and fire damage, the promotional literature specifically identifies each article as a gun “case” that has been designed to safely carry multiple firearms during travel. Furthermore, these cases have been designed with the following features typically found in containers for travel: ergonomic carrying handle, zippered travel cover, mylar wheels built into the case for travel convenience (SGS-1125RW), and both cases are approved for airline travel. However, there is nothing in the advertising literature which
specifically promotes the use of either container as a “safe” to protect the contents against theft and fire. We also disagree with the commentor’s assertion that the subject articles are not eo nomine provided for as “gun cases,” but are merely similar to “gun cases.” The commentor observes that the term “gun cases” appears in two places in the tariff language, these being heading 4202 and GRI 5(a). However, the commentor goes on to assert, incorrectly, that “Because there is no other descriptive/limiting language, the terms must be defined in the same manner.” The commentor argues that the articles in question are expensive, after-market accessories that are never sold with the firearms. In our opinion, these are exactly the types of containers that are contemplated as being eo nomine provided for as “gun cases” of heading 4202, HTSUSA. In this instance, GRI 5(a) is not applicable because it applies to gun cases which have been specially shaped and fitted to contain a specific gun or guns, and which are imported and sold with the contents. In accordance with GRI 5(a), such cases shall be classified with the firearm(s). There is nothing in the language set forth in GRI 5(a) which would limit or preclude the classification of “gun cases” sold without a firearm from being eo nomine provided for as “gun cases” of heading 4202, HTSUSA.

As noted above, “gun cases” is an eo nomine exemplar in heading 4202, HTSUSA. As such, “gun cases” is not a use provision because the term describes the merchandise by name, not by use. See Clarendon Marketing, Inc. v. United States, 144 F.3d 1464, 1467 (Fed. Cir. 1998); and Nidec Corp. v. United States, 68 F.3d 1333, 1336 (Fed Cir. 1995). It is also important to note that "An eo nomine designation, with no terms of limitation, will ordinarily include all forms of the named article." Hayes-Sammons Co. v. United States, 55 C.C.P.A. 69, 75 (1968). Accordingly, a use limitation should not be read into an eo nomine provision unless the name itself inherently suggests a type of use. See Pistorino & Co. v. United States, 599 F.2d 444, 445 (CCPA 1979); United States v. Quon Quon Co., 46 C.C.P.A. 70, 72-73 (1959); F.W. Myers & Co. v. United States, 24 Cust. Ct. 178, 184-85, (1950).

Heading 4202, HTSUSA, has eo nomine provided for “gun cases” which, in this instance, would include all forms of the article because there are no terms of limitation associated with this exemplar. Furthermore, the 42.02 EN notes that the containers of this heading may be rigid or with a rigid foundation and since “gun cases” are included in the first part of the heading, before the semi-colon, they may be of any material. See 42.02 EN.

In Totes, Inc. v. United States, 18 C.I.T. 919, 865 F. Supp. 867, 871 (1994), the Court of International Trade concluded that the "essential characteristics and purpose of the Heading 4202 exemplars are to organize, store, protect and carry various items." In this instance, the subject case, unlike
any of the exemplars in the EN to heading 3926, is intended to store, protect, organize and transport a gun either inside or outside the home.

We further note the following dictionary definition for “case” taken from the 1979 Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, i.e., “ a box or receptacle for holding something ”. Thus, a “case” could conceivably include any type of receptacle, stationary or portable, designed to hold something. In fact, the promotional literature for the subject gun cases (item numbers SGS-1124R and SGS-1125R) specifically promotes the portability features of these cases, e.g., ergonomic carrying handle, zipper travel cover, approved for airline travel, mylar wheels built into the case (item number SGS-1125R).

In a recent CBP ruling, HQ 966544, dated March 2, 2004, it was held that a portable traveling gun case, featuring carrying handles, fitted key and combination locks, and approved for airline travel, was classifiable as a container of subheading 4202.99.9000, HTSUSA. We further note that CBP has previously classified articles identified as gun cases in heading 4202, HTSUSA. NY G85641, dated February 12, 2001, involved the tariff classification of gun cases and a determination as to preferential treatment under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA). In that ruling, the samples consisted of upper and lower shells of pressed wood formed to shape the main body of the case. The fur-lined interior was fitted to hold the gun/accessories by means of wood blocks and dividers. The samples submitted each had carrying handles and varying exteriors of textile and leather. With respect to the classification of all the textile covered cases (Style 1215, 1215DW, 1215D, and 1215E), CBP found that those gun cases were each classifiable in subheading 4202.92, HTSUSA. In NY K82654, dated February 5, 2004, a fitted gun case, with a carrying handle, manufactured of neoprene, and wholly covered on the exterior surface with polyester fabric, was deemed to be of a kind eo nomine provided for in heading 4202, HTSUSA.

In view of the foregoing, CBP has determined that item numbers SGS-1124R and SGS-1125R, are properly classified as gun cases in heading 4202, HTSUSA, and are eo nomine provided for in the exemplars for that heading.


NY G89340, dated April 2, 2001, is hereby revoked.

The subject gun cases, identified as item numbers SGS-1124R and SGS-1125R, are classified in subheading 4202.99.9000, HTSUSA, which provides for “Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases, school satchels, spectacle cases, binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, holsters and similar containers; traveling bags, insulated food or beverage
bags, toiletry bags, knapsacks and backpacks, handbags, shopping bags, wallets, purses, map cases, cigarette cases, tobacco pouches, tool bags, sports bags, bottle cases, jewelry boxes, powder cases, cutlery cases and similar containers, of leather or of composition leather, of sheeting of plastics, of textile materials, of vulcanized fiber or paperboard, or wholly or mainly covered with such materials or with paper: Other: Other: Other." The general column one duty rate is 20% percent ad valorem.


Myles B. Harmon, Director

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