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GIFFORDS Applauds Decision to Pause US Exports of Firearms

Washington DC — Today, GIFFORDS, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, applauded the United States Commerce Department’s decision to pause the issuance of new export licenses for civilian firearms and ammunition to certain countries for 90 days. 

In 2020, the Trump Administration finalized a rule that shifted most firearms and ammunition from the United States Munitions List (USML) overseen by the State Department to the Commerce Department’s Control List (CCL), giving the Commerce Department jurisdiction over the export of these weapons. This change—initiated by the Trump Administration and backed by the gun lobby—resulted in limiting Congress’ ability to halt those transactions, less rigorous vetting of exporters, less public reporting regarding the end use of exported items to ensure that items are not trafficked.

GIFFORDS opposed this decision and has been working to overturn it

Adzi Vokhiwa, Federal Affairs Director:

“This is an important first step to reversing the damage done by the Trump administration’s misguided rule. This rule has allowed irresponsible gun manufacturers to put profits over people’s lives and sell firearms to countries without sufficient oversight. The gun lobby doesn’t care what’s done with their guns, they just care about making money. We look forward to continuing to work with the Biden administration to ensure that there is appropriate vetting and oversight when firearms are sold abroad.”

Since the Trump-era regulation was enacted, the number of semi-automatic pistols exported globally from the US from July through December 2020 grew by 124% compared to that same timeframe in 2019. This is an important effort from the Biden Administration’s to ensure that license applicants identify the end users of exported U.S firearms, so that American guns are not diverted away from legal commerce and trafficked for violent or criminal purposes.


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