U.S. announces new restrictions on firearm exports

    The U.S. is imposing new restrictions on firearms exports and increasing scrutiny on transactions to limit diversions of guns to drug cartels, criminal groups, gangs and others, the Commerce Department said on Friday.

    The World News Herald
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    “The days of exporting military-style weapons to civilians in unstable countries are over,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said. “Under our new review process, it will be much harder to export these weapons to civilians in countries that pose national security risks.”

    The department on Oct. 27 issued a pause on most firearm exports to assess the “risk of firearms being diverted to entities or activities that promote regional instability, violate human rights, or fuel criminal activities.”

    The department announced on Friday it will lift the pause from May 30 when the new restrictions take effect. They are being imposed because the department believes it needs to do more to prevent exported firearms from being diverted for malign purposes and harming U.S. national security.

    The new interim final rule imposes restrictions on exports to non-governmental users in 36 countries where the State Department has determined they are at high risk of diversions or misuse. The department will apply a “presumption of denial for commercial transactions” in those countries.

    The Commerce Department expects the restrictions tied to the 36 countries to result in about a 7% reduction, or $40 million, out of the $600 million in average annual U.S. firearm exports. The department will revoke some export licenses and will cut some from four years to one-year licenses, the Commerce Department said.

    The 36 countries include some former Soviet Republics, the Commerce Department official added, saying it is “increasing scrutiny on a transaction by transaction level to ensure that firearms aren’t exported to destinations of concern.”

    The Oct. 27 pause on export licenses for firearms and ammunition sales to non-governmental users had some exemptions, including export licenses for Ukraine and Israel, and some other close allies.

    The news comes just days after the U.S. granted a $15 million unconditional aid for Israel, to a regime that is being accused of war crimes and genocide of Palestinian people and whose leaders are expecting arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court for committing war crimes.


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