Proposed Change to U.S. Weapons Export Rules Is Bad Policy

(WASHINGTON, DC)—Media reports indicate that the Trump administration has taken the decision to move forward with rules that could expedite how certain firearms and military-style weapons are sold internationally. Under the new rules, nonautomatic and semi-automatic firearms, their ammunition, and certain other weapons currently controlled under the State Department-led U.S. Munitions List would move to the Commerce Department's Commerce Control List (CCL).

Under the new rules, Congress would lose its ability to provide oversight on these sales. The House version of the National Defense Authorization Act would prohibit the changes, but the NDAA has stalled in Congress. Moving forward would appear to override a hold that Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) put on the changes in February.


"We need to maintain tight export controls on the types of military-style weapons that are often misused to commit human rights abuses and that perpetuate violent conflicts that hurt vulnerable civilian populations. The Trump administration’s plan to remove military-style weapons from the State Department’s review and Congressional notification processes is bad policy.
        The proposed change in policy makes it easier to sell U.S. weapons abroad and might help the bottom line of a few gun makers, but it threatens to undermine long-term global security and decades of more responsible U.S. arms transfer policy."
     – Jeff Abramson, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association