Firearm Export : Federal Firearm Export Rule Change

Position: Oppose Status: The Act is on hold by Congressman Menendez but same language is now Amdt 512 of HR 2500

Under the export rules change, American-made guns, including semi-automatics like AR-15s, could easily find their way into the hands of criminals and terrorists overseas.

The Torres Amendment of the NDAA blocks the rule change and is supported by Ceasefire Oregon.

Here are the specifics about what the proposed export rules change would do:

-Eliminate Congressional oversight for important gun export deals.
-Transfer the cost of processing licenses from gun manufacturers to taxpayers.
-Enable unchecked gun production in the U.S. and exports abroad by removing the block on 3D printing of firearms.
-Reduce transparency and reporting on gun exports.
-Transfer gun export licensing from an agency with a mission to promote stability, human rights, and reduce conflict to an agency with a mission to promote trade and which lacks the resources to adequately enforce export controls.

Update


November 8, 2019: A review of the rules by multiple U.S. agencies including the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security concluded the week of November 4, 2019. Government records show the final rule was formally transmitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget on Oct. 23. August 2019: The Torres amendment passed the House. The Senate NDAA has been voted on but did not include this issue. The differences in the House and Senate bills will be sent to the Conference Committee for further consideration. July 11, 2019: The House passed Congresswoman Torres's Amendment, (A006). Agreed to by recorded vote: 225 - 205 (Roll no. 442). (consideration: CR H5608-5609) An amendment numbered 10 printed in Part B of House Report 116-143 to prohibit the President from removing items from Categories I through III of the United States Munitions List, including firearms, close assault weapons and combat shotguns, guns and armament, and ammunition and ordnance.
July 10, 2019: Congresswoman Torres [D-CA 35] added Amendment #10 to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2020. Amendment #10 would prohibit the president from moving weapons export licensing from the State Department to the Commerce Department.
February 28, 2019: Sen. Robert Menendez (D NJ), a ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee and a senior Democratic senator, has blocked the Trump administration proposed rule to switch oversight authority of firearm sales abroad from the State Department to the Commerce Department, arguing the move would significantly weaken congressional oversight and increase the risk of terrorists and criminals getting their hands on powerful military-grade weapons.

More Information:

November 8, 2019:  A review of the rules by multiple U.S. agencies including the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security concluded the week of November 4, 2019. Government records show the final rule was formally transmitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget on Oct. 23. The close of the interagency comment period was a key milestone that enables the Trump administration to put lawmakers on notice of the intent to transfer formal oversight to the weapons sales from State to Commerce. Top officials at both departments still need to sign off on the issue before legislators can be notified. Reuters

The Torres Amendment (see below) passed the House (attached to the National Defense Authorization Act or NDAA) but the Senate has not yet taken up the NDAA.

July 11, 2019: Torres (CA) amendment (A006) agreed to by vote of 225-205. (Roll no. 442) (consideration: CR H5608-5609). An amendment numbered 10 printed in Part B of House Report 116-143 to prohibit the President from removing items from Categories I through III of the United States Munitions List, including firearms, close assault weapons and combat shotguns, guns and armament, and ammunition and ordnance.

On July 10, 2019, Congresswoman Torres submitted an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA, HR 2500). The amendment, now called Amendment 512 or the Torres Amendment, passed the House on a vote of 225 – 205. The Oregon Congress members who voted for the amendment are Congressman Blumenauer, Congresswoman Bonamici, and Congressman DeFazio. Voting against Amendment 512 are Congressman Schrader and Congressman Walden.

Amendment 512 will stop a proposed federal rule change concerning the oversight of gun exports from the State Department to the Commerce Department. The American gun industry has been fighting for this change so they can increase their overseas profits.

Here are the specifics about what the proposed rule change would do:

  • Eliminate Congressional oversight for important gun export deals.
  • Transfer the cost of processing licenses from gun manufacturers to taxpayers.
  • Enable unchecked gun production in the U.S. and exports abroad by removing the block on 3D printing of firearms.
  • Reduce transparency and reporting on gun exports.
  • Transfer gun export licensing from an agency with a mission to promote stability, human rights, and reduce conflict to an agency with a mission to promote trade and which lacks the resources to adequately enforce export controls.

Donald Trump could disregard Senator Menendez’s hold, which is not legally binding but is based on decades of bipartisan tradition.

Amendment 512 will also face votes in the Senate. Please call Oregon Senators Wyden, and Merkley to tell them to support the Torres Amendment 512 of the NDAA which will BLOCK the proposed rule change to switch oversight authority of firearm sales abroad from the State Department to the Commerce Department. The change will significantly weaken congressional oversight and increase the risk of terrorists and criminals getting their hands on powerful military-grade weapons.

Senator Wyden: 503-326-7525

Senator Merkley: 503-326-3386

“Trump administration to publish proposed rule changes for gun exports: official”

Written by Mike Stone, edited by Jonathan Oatis, published by Reuters, May 22, 2018:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration is preparing to publish on Thursday long-delayed proposed rule changes for the export of U.S. firearms, a State Department official said on Tuesday.

The rule changes would move the oversight of commercial firearm exports from the U.S. Department of State to the Department of Commerce.

The action is part of a broader Trump administration overhaul of weapons export policy that was announced in April.

Timing for the formal publication of the rule change and the opening of the public comment period was unveiled by Mike Miller the acting secretary for the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, the State Department’s body that currently oversees the bulk of commercial firearms transfers and other foreign military sales. He was speaking at the Forum on the Arms Trade’s annual conference at the Stimson Center, a Washington think tank.

Reuters first reported on the proposed rule changes in September as the Trump administration was preparing to make it easier for American gun makers to sell small arms, including assault rifles and ammunition, to foreign buyers.

Domestic gun sales have fallen significantly after soaring under President Barack Obama, when gun enthusiasts stockpiled weapons and ammunition out of fear that the government would tighten gun laws.

A move by the Trump administration to make it simpler to sell small arms abroad may generate business for gun makers American Outdoor Brands (AOBC.O) and Sturm Ruger & Company (RGR.N) in an industry experiencing a deep sales slump since the election of President Donald Trump.

Remington, America’s oldest gun maker, filed for bankruptcy protection in March, weeks after a shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, killed 17 people and triggered intensified campaigns for gun control by activists. Remington emerged from bankruptcy last week.

The expected relaxing of rules could increase foreign gun sales by as much as 20 percent, the National Sports Shooting Foundation has estimated. As well as the industry’s big players, it may also help small gunsmiths and specialists who are currently required to pay an annual federal fee to export relatively minor amounts of products.