The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal 2020 is currently in House-Senate Conference Committee reconciliation negotiations. Among the several differences between the House and Senate versions is an amendment that could decide whether a Trump administration proposal to loosen export controls on firearms goes into effect. On Nov. 21, the Trump administration gave formal notification to Congress of the proposed rule changes, which could go into effect as early as Dec. 20 if Congress does not block the initiative within 30 days.
The United States exports firearms and related technology on a massive scale. During fiscal 2013 to 2017, the State Department reviewed approximately 69,000 commercial export license applications for firearms, artillery and ammunition reported at a value of $7.5 billion. Roughly two-thirds of these applications were for firearms, mostly nonautomatic and semiautomatic guns.
The Trump administration’s proposal would transfer control over the export of firearms and related technology from the State Department to the Commerce Department. The differences between the current and proposed regimes—which are discussed below—could have significant implications for the global trade in small arms, particularly in conflicts across Latin America and the Middle East.Assessing the Trump Administration’s Proposed Changes to the Small-Arms Export Regime - Lawfare
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