U.S. to Streamline Small Arms, Ammo Export Regulations.

Author:Mays, Lisa

U.S. regulations are being rewritten to remove certain guns and ammunition from defense export controls. A plan has been proposed within the State Department to migrate articles on the first three categories of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations U.S. Munitions List to the less restrictive Department of Commerce's Export Administration Regulations in Spring 2019. The change is expected to become effective by Summer.

Whether the State Department will go so far as to rename the United States Munitions List, the "United States List" remains to be seen. The removal of certain guns and ammunition from the munitions list will be a big change for small arms manufacturers who will soon be able to sell to a number of countries with a lower licensing requirement.

The proposed amendment to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, or ITAR, first appeared in notes on the Defense Trade Advisory Group meeting on Sept. 8, 2017. For those who don't live and breathe the trade regulations, this is the State Department's working group that provides the bureau of political-military affairs with a formal channel to consult the private sector on all things concerning munitions exports.

On May 14, 2018, the Department of Commerce's bureau of industry and security, in conjunction with the State Department's directorate of defense trade controls, published proposed rules regarding the amendment.

Under the proposed rules, certain articles under USML Categories I (firearms, close assault weapons and combat shotguns], II (guns and armament), and III (ammunition/ordnance) will be moved from the USML to the Export Administration Regulations' commerce control list. Those articles are mainly commercial and not military items. The proposed rule acknowledges that there is a significant worldwide market for firearms in connection with civil and recreational activities such as hunting, marksmanship, competitive shooting and other non-military activities; and that the proposed changes burden U.S. industry without any proportionate benefits to national security or foreign policy objectives.

American gun and ammunition manufacturers will have an increased capacity to reach a larger customer base without as many restrictions on the export of their products. U.S. firearm manufacturers and exporters will likely see a reduction in export compliance administrative burden. Arms sales from the United States will likely grow, and the nation will likely continue to hold...

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