Trump to Propose Easing Gun Export Curbs

The administration will propose a streamlined process for exporting handguns and rifles, a move long advocated by U.S. firearms manufacturers.

U.S. gunmakers are on the verge of getting something they’ve long wanted: a streamlined process for exporting their handguns and rifles, including AR-15 assault-style weapons that have been the focus of national debate, McClatchy Newspapers reports. The Trump administration is expected to propose that a large number of commercially available rifles and handguns would move off a munitions list controlled by the State Department and onto a different one at the business-friendly Commerce Department. Iconic U.S. brands like Smith & Wesson, Sturm Ruger and the eventual owners of privately held Remington Outdoor are expected to benefit from any new policy.

Opponents of relaxing the export rules argue that decision could come back to haunt the U.S. if the weapons end up in the wrong hands. Gun manufacturers counter that the changes don’t eliminate regulation, but would let them conduct business overseas more easily. U.S. manufacturers are hamstrung by overly restrictive license requirements, said Michael Bazinet of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a lobbying and trade association for gun makers, based in Newtown, Ct. “Lengthy delays in the licensing process, and certain cases requiring congressional notification, cause U.S. firearm and ammunition exporters to lose business.” Gunmakers are hurting from slumping domestic gun sales since President Trump took office. The foundation hopes foreign sales — to sportsmen, collectors and police agencies — could grow by as much as 20 percent under less cumbersome rules, which it has aggressively lobbied for over almost a decade.