Press Release

Giffords Commends Reps. Torres and Engel for Introducing Legislation to Maintain Oversight of Firearm Exports

February 8, 2019 — Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, applauded Representative Norma Torres (D-CA) and Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) for introducing the Prevent Crime and Terrorism Act to maintain the State Department’s regulatory authority over firearm exports. The bill responds to a Trump Administration proposal to deregulate firearm exports by moving oversight on the sale of firearms and ammunition to foreign actors and entities from the U.S. State Department’s U.S. Munitions List (USML) to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Control List (CCL), where the rules regarding these transactions are weaker. The Prevent Crime and Terrorism Act would maintain current law that governs the exportation of firearms to foreign countries, and was also co-sponsored by Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), and Jim McGovern (D-MA).

Statement from Robin Lloyd, managing director at Giffords:

“We applaud Congress for taking action to stop the Trump administration from allowing more deadly firearms to flood the foreign market in dangerous places. We should not be making it easier for a human rights abuser to get new weapons to put down an uprising or a terrorist group to build up an armory. But the President seems to be more concerned with gun manufacturing profits than the safety of people around the world. The Prevent Crime and Terrorism Act is critical so we can keep intact congressional oversight and State Department expertise over the exports of arms. We look forward to working with Rep. Torres and Chairman Engel to pass this legislation and stop the Trump Administration’s reckless plan.

Background on the Trump Administration Proposal

Presidents have traditionally exercised their authority to control the export of “defense articles,” including most firearms and ammunition, through the State Department. Past administrations have done so by including all handguns, rifles and short-barreled shotguns, and certain kinds of ammunition on the U.S. Munitions List (USML). The proposed regulation would move many of these weapons from the USML to the Commerce Department’s Commerce Control List (CCL).  By moving these items onto the CCL, the proposed regulation would reduce State Department and Congressional oversight regarding gun exports, and would eliminate protections that prevent exported firearms from falling into the hands of human rights abusers and international criminal organizations. Giffords is disappointed by this move to subject dangerous firearms, including military-style assault weapons, to this weaker set of export regulations.