Torres, Engel Statement on Trump Administration Firearms Export Rule Change

February 1, 2019
Press Release

Rule change threatens an increase in the flow of firearms to terrorist groups and drug cartels, undermining U.S. national security

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Norma J. Torres (D-CA) and Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement ahead of the Trump administration’s rule change to loosen the regulation of firearms exports. The rule change would shift control of the export licensing process for firearms away from the U.S. Department of State to the U.S. Department of Commerce, which has far looser licensing rules and procedures.

 

“As the world’s largest firearms exporter, the United States ought to be focused on making sure that firearms don’t end up in the wrong hands. But with this rule, the Trump administration is doing the opposite, making it easier to sell military-type weapons and the means to make undetectable guns to foreign buyers.

 

“With this rule in effect, control of firearms will be transferred from the State Department to the Commerce Department. Firearm sales would be approved with no congressional oversight. Foreign nationals would be eligible for Commerce export licenses, making it easier for military weapons to end up in the hands of dictators, terrorists, and narco-traffickers. Many regions of the world are experiencing instability, including in Central America, and we can’t afford to fan the flames there. The new rules would also allow for the proliferation of 3-D printed weapons, which would be a major blow to efforts to combat international gun trafficking. Even the rule’s supporters admit that the change would be significant: firearm exports could increase as much as twenty percent.

 

“We need more oversight of firearms exports, not less. Next week, we will introduce legislation to push back against this change and protect America’s national security by helping to keep weapons from falling into the wrong hands.”

 

Last Congress, Torres and Engel introduced the Prevent Crime and Terrorism Act to limit the Trump administration’s plans to deregulate firearm exports.

 

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