Commerce Dept. To Permanently Throttle Exports Of USA’s Last Manufacturing Sector


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WASHINGTON, D.C. — NSSF, The Firearm Industry Trade Association, is deeply critical of the Interim Final Rule published today by Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) that cements the supposed 90-day firearm export “pause” into permanent policy and creates additional regulatory burdens.

The Biden administration has demonstrated again their deepening contempt toward the firearm industry. This rule entrenches their “whole of government” attack and is intended to hobble the firearm industry’s ability to compete in the international market under the false pretense of advancing U.S. national security.

“The enmity of the Biden administration against the firearm industry and Second Amendment rights is without parallel. This is deeply troubling the lengths to which this administration will go to turn the levers of government against a Constitutionally-protected industry in order to cozy up to special-interest gun control donors,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President & General Counsel.

“The supposed ‘temporary pause’ to review firearm export policies was a farce. It was an effort to buy the administration time to gin up policies that would strike at the heart of the ability of this industry to stay in business. This has been the end goal since President Biden said from the Democratic debate stage that ‘firearm manufacturers are the enemy.’ This is a wholesale attack on the industry that provides the means for Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights.”

The Interim Final Rule was the result of BIS re-examining firearm export licenses in light of national security concerns. That reasoning, however, rings hollow. According to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), only about 1 percent of legally exported firearms are recovered abroad at crime scenes and traced.

The BIS Interim Final Rule would make permanent export freezes sought by the Biden administration when it first announced on Oct. 27, 2023, a “90-day pause” to examine firearm export policy. The pause, which lasted over 180 days, was clearly an attempt to undermine the Export Control Reforms for firearm and ammunition exports that were initiated by the Obama-Biden administration and completed by the Trump administration. The total economic impact of the Interim Final Rule easily exceeds $250 million to U.S. manufacturers and exporters, far above the farcically low estimates BIS has been telling NSSF and the Hill.

Under the Interim Final Rule, firearm export licenses will be reduced from a four-year lifespan to just one year. There will be three new Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCN) for semiautomatic rifles, pistols and shotguns. Licenses will be approved on a case-by-case basis that will consider foreign policy, national security risk factors, government corruption, diversion of firearms and human rights abuses among other criteria. BIS is stating there will be a presumption of denial for firearm export licenses to those countries arbitrarily identified by the State Department as “at risk,” which include 36 countries – mostly in Latin America, the Caribbean and Southeast Asian countries.

All existing previously approved firearm export licenses to so-called “high risk” countries will be revoked 60 days after with the Interim Final Rule takes effect May 30, 2024.

Those U.S. companies with existing firearm export licenses will be required to re-apply for new licenses. The public comment period will remain open until July 1. NSSF is considering its legal options and will simultaneously submit written comments demonstrating the true economic impact and the harm to American businesses, jobs and local economies wrought by this politically-driven policy change.

About The National Shooting Sports Foundation

NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations, and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit

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