Plenty of people are upset by the proposal by the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (“DDTC”) to revise the definition of public domain to exclude technical data about defense articles released to the public without the permission of DDTC or the Department of Defense. But Senators Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley are so fired up that they wrote a letter to DDTC, sent to me by a reader, demanding that they justify this position.

Of course, before taking the DDTC to task over the impact of an ITAR proposal, it might have been a good idea to actually read the ITAR itself, or at least parts of it. Yes, I know. Reading is hard. It takes away time that can be spent cavorting with lobbyists at steakhouses. But that is what the staff is for, right? Apparently not, judging from this whopper in the Grassley/Johnson letter to DDTC.

The proposal expands the definition of “defense article” to include items such as firearms ….

Now, I can understand saying this if firearms were in Category XIX or another Category near the end of the USML. That would require the staff to read all the way to the end of the United States Munitions List, a daunting task for even the most dedicated Senate staffer. But, as we all know — well all of us but Senators Grassley and Johnson and their staffs — firearms are covered by Category I. In fact, “firearms” is the first word in the title of Category I.

I think this is what used to be called an epic fail.