Trump administration releases plan to shift gun export approvals

© Getty Images The Trump administration on Tuesday announced a long-awaited proposal to transfer the approval of certain gun exports, including semi-automatic rifles and ammunition, from the State Department to the Commerce Department. Foreign policy advocates and gun manufacturers have been anxiously awaiting the rule change, which has been in the works since 2012. While officials say the goal is to reduce regulatory burdens on manufacturers and promote American exports, foreign policy experts and gun control advocates have said they think the approval transfer will lead to less Congressional oversight of large gun export deals causing U.S. guns to end up in the hands of criminal organizations, human rights abusers and terrorist groups. “U.S. firearms exported to Mexican police have been used in massacres and forced disappearances,” John Lindsay-Poland, of Global Exchange’s Project to Stop U.S. Arms to Mexico, said in a statement. “We need international background checks to prevent gun exports to military and private groups that use them to commit violence or collude with organized crime.” Under the proposal , the State Department would shift the approval of exports of nonmilitary firearms and ammunition that are already commercially available — those under Categories I, II and III on the U.S. Munitions List — to the Commerce Department. A State Department spokesperson said firearms and related articles that are inherently for military end use or that are not otherwise widely available in retail outlets will remain under State Department purview. The rule will be open to public comment […]

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