Rebuking Trump Administration, House seeks to keep oversight of these exports at State Department to more tightly monitor sales to foreign actors
July 11, 2019 — Giffords, the gun safety organization founded and led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, applauded the House of Representatives for adopting an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (NDAA) to better ensure firearm exports do not fall into the hands of dangerous foreign actors in troubled areas of the world. The measure would reject a Trump Administration proposal to transfer oversight of firearms and ammunition exports from State Department regulation to the less stringent control of the Department of Commerce. A vote on final passage of the NDAA is expected later this week.
Introduced by Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA), Amendment #10 prohibits the president from moving weapons export licensing from the United States Munitions List (USML) controlled by the State Department to the Commerce Department’s Commerce Control List (CCL), protecting national security by maintaining rigorous oversight over the export of weapons most commonly used in armed conflict and terrorist activity. The amendment would also ensure that Congress retains oversight authority and receives notification of all firearms exports of one million dollars or more, as well as prevent the blueprints for 3D-printed weapons from being posted online.
Statement from Robin Lloyd, managing director at Giffords:
“Firearms are not parts shipped to another country to build a plane or car, they are deadly weapons that can stir conflicts and kill innocent civilians. In an attempt to appease the gun lobby, the Trump Administration moved to weaken regulations over firearm exports. That might be good for the bottom line of the corporate gun lobby, but it harms the national security of our country. This amendment makes sure the right experts are watching over these shipments so our enemies don’t get American-made guns they can use to carry out violence abroad. We applaud Congresswoman Torres for her leadership in this fight and the House for standing up for global safety.”
In spite of numerous concerns from several stakeholders, the Trump Administration notified Congress of its intention to finalize the proposed regulation in early February 2019. In response, Rep. Norma Torres introduced H.R. 1134, the Prevent Crime and Terrorism Act of 2019 to prevent the proposed regulation from taking effect, and Amendment #10 reflects the language of H.R. 1134. In May, more than 100 organizations—including gun violence prevention, human rights, arms control, and faith groups—sent a letter to Congress urging them to reject the Trump Administration’s proposal.