New Regulation Extends Halt on Gun Exports, Escalating Biden Administration’s Crackdown on Firearms Industry
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New Regulation Extends Halt on Gun Exports, Escalating Biden Administration’s Crackdown on Firearms Industry

New Regulation Extends Halt on Gun Exports | Credits: Alamy Stock Photo

United States: The Biden administration escalated its regulatory campaign against the American firearm industry this month by unveiling a regulation that will prolong what was initially intended to be a brief “halt” on licenses for gun exports to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is set to release an interim final rule on April 30 that will raise the bar for American gun manufacturers reliant on foreign exports to sustain their operations, according to the Federal List.

In October 2023, the BIS declared a cessation of new export licenses for certain firearms and ammunition to reassess policies believed to heighten the “risk of firearms diversion to entities or activities promoting regional instability, human rights abuses, or criminal activities, such as terrorism, extortion, and illicit trafficking.” The suspension was initially slated for a 90-day period.

At the urging of congressional Democrats attributing international fatalities and devastation to US firearm producers, the agency initiated work on an interim final rule extending the pause and enhancing what it considered inadequate licensing and export requirements. The revised policy also establishes a “presumption of denial” for firearms exports to NGOs across numerous nations.

BIS contends that the revisions will “enhance protection of US national security and foreign policy interests” by further hindering cartels and other illicit organizations from pilfering or illicitly acquiring American firearms, the Federal List mentioned.

“Exporting military-style weapons to civilians in unstable nations is a thing of the past,” remarked Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to Reuters. “With our revamped review process, exporting such weapons to civilians in countries posing national security threats will be considerably more challenging.”

However, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) discovered that internationally traced and recovered firearms between 2016 and 2020 constituted less than 1 percent of the over 2.7 million firearms lawfully exported from the US during those years.

In actuality, the regulation seems poised to further encumber American gun manufacturers with regulatory hurdles, exacerbating the “substantial losses” they endured following the October 2023 hiatus.

Citizens will have a 60-day window to provide feedback on the regulation, which becomes effective 30 days post-publication in the Federal Register, the Federal List mentioned.

Representation for stop gun violence | Credits: Google Images

Firearms industry advocacy organizations like the National Shooting Sports Foundation have already criticized the policy as another maneuver by the Biden administration and Democrats to “maneuver government mechanisms against a Constitutionally-protected industry in a bid to appease special-interest gun control donors.”

“The purported ‘temporary pause’ to reassess firearm export policies was a charade,” asserted NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane in a statement.

“It was a ploy to afford the administration time to devise policies aimed at undermining the industry’s ability to operate. This has been the ultimate objective ever since President Biden declared during the Democratic debate that ‘firearm manufacturers are the adversary.’ It’s a wholesale assault on the industry that facilitates Americans’ exercise of their Second Amendment rights.”