Commerce Dept. to restrict firearm exports to high-risk countries

Gun Rights

Firearms can no longer be exported to countries the U.S. government considers “high-risk” under a new rule released by the U.S. Department of Commerce Friday. The move is designed to stop U.S. firearms and ammunition from being diverted or misused to facilitate drug trafficking, human rights violations and political violence, the department said.


What You Need To Know

  • The Commerce Department introduced a new rule to stop U.S. firearms exports to high-risk countries
  • The rule is designed to stop U.S. firearms and ammunition from being diverted or misused to facilitate drug trafficking, human rights violations and political violence
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  • The Commerce Department will use a list the State Department compiled to determine high-risk countries and non-government groups that will be restricted from receiving U.S. firearms exports
  • Firearms exporters will also need to use a new numbering system so the government can track the types of weapons being exported

“The Commerce Department is protecting America’s national security by making it harder for criminals, terrorists and cartels to get their hands on U.S.-made firearms,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement. “Too often, firearms exports fall into the wrong hands and end up being used in ways that undermine U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.”

Under the interim final rule, the department’s Bureau of Industry and Security will look at individual transactions and assess them based on national security and foreign policy factors, such as terrorism risks, human rights concerns, corruption and state fragility, the department said in a statement.

The department will presumptively deny exports to any country or non-government group the U.S. Statement Department has determined is high risk. Earlier this month, the State Department issued the list of high-risk countries, which includes the Bahamas, Colombia, El Salvador, Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam.

The National Rifle Association opposed the new rule.

“These export restrictions are just one more example of the Biden administration’s adverse posture towards firearms, this time at the expense of American workers,” NRA Institute for Legislative Action Executive Director Randy Kozuch told Spectrum News.

“Make no mistake, demand for firearms in foreign countries will continue to be met by America’s adversaries without any of the controls or oversight that come with American firearm transfers. This policy will only handicap American businesses to the benefit of foreign competitors.”

Starting July 1, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security will revoke currently effective licenses to exporters who send firearms to any country on the State Department list.

As part of the rule taking effect May 30, the Commerce Department will also require firearms exporters to use a new numbering system so it can track the types of weapons U.S. manufacturers are sending to other countries. The licensing period for exporters will also be reduced from four years to one so the department can “adapt to an ever-changing global security environment.”

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