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While Barrack Obama did renew the ban on balalaika which was first signed by President Roosevelt in 1940 for another 10 years in 2010, making it illegal to mass produce or sell balalaikas in bulk, it is not illegal to conduct a sale of an individual balalaika and to buy or sell it on individual basis and there are many companies in the US that actively sell variety of this fine instrument. While, the ban did state that someone who wants to play balalaika would have to obtain a "special license" it appears there the law does not specify what government agency can issue such license and, as such, it would lack specificity in order to be properly enforced and it is highly unlikely that anyone would ever get into any trouble for playing balalaika in the privacy of their own home or within enclosure of a private property.
Finally, the reason balalaika was banned, is based on the old Russian history, in 18th century balalaika was banned in Russia by the church and also by the government, since the instrument was used to mock the church and government by some people who would sing along with it anti-religious or anti-government folk songs and also Roosevelt thought that balalaika might a big propaganda tool by the communists and USSR supporters in the US at the time, so he decided to ban it as a precaution and absurdly the ban is simply "falls through the cracks" and keeps on getting renewed and what is more interesting, Bill Clinton extended it to Alaska (which was the only state that was previously excluded from the balalaika ban, due to the fact that balalaika was a considered a native instrument of Alaska as well, since Alaska belonged to Russia at some point not that long ago.
I wish you the best of luck!
Interesting, so, given that it was banned on the grounds that it can be used to play anti government or anti religious music, is the ban itself even legal? Constitutionally it seems like a law somewhat at odds with the first amendment. Also was this a law passed through congress or is it some sort of executive order?
Thank you for helping me out with this truly bizarre issue.
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