Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Trump’s Export Reforms Will Benefit Industry, Security and Gun Owners

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Trump’s Export Reforms Will Benefit Industry, Security and Gun Owners

The Trump administration is launching a major effort to reform America’s complicated system of rules governing the export of firearms, firearm parts, components, accessories and ammunition. While the initiative is good news for the country’s firearm industry, ordinary gun owners also have much to gain from the executive action.

The traps the current export regime can set for the unwary are a case study in the perils of Big Government bureaucracy, and the costs of becoming ensnared are extremely high. Each individual violation of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) or the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), the Act’s implementing rules, carries civil penalties of up to $500,000, as well as criminal sanctions of up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $1 million.

The federal government obviously has a legitimate role to play in ensuring that American military technology does not fall into the hands of foreign dictators, terrorists or tyrants. But is a recoil spring for a 9 mm pistol really as militarily sensitive as the propulsion system for a nuclear missile? Should the government subject an online discussion of hand-loads for the .45 ACP cartridge to the same protocols that apply to the release of schematics for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft?

It is wrong to characterize a neighborhood gunsmith, who threads the barrel of an existing firearm to fit a flash hider or sound suppressor, as the “manufacturer” of a “defense article,” thereby triggering a $2,250 annual registration fee with the U.S. State Department. In addition, if a hunter wants to go on a once-in-a-lifetime Tanzanian safari, he or she should not have to register the temporary “export” of his or her personally owned firearm in the same government database used by military contractors selling heavy artillery to America’s allies.

This is why it is crucial to change the rules for firearm and ammunition exports. Situations like the ones described above represent the very types of minefields that ordinary gun owners or small businesses can stumble into under the current rules.

In a piercing critique of the irrational nature of the current export regime, one official quipped, “If you guard your toothbrushes and diamonds with equal zeal, you’ll probably lose fewer toothbrushes and more diamonds.”

The current system is also stifling to the well-being of the industry. When hobbyists, inventors, entrepreneurs or businesspeople discover how America’s intricate firearm and ammunition “export” regime can reach into benign domestic activity, many turn their attention to other pursuits. Not only does this unnecessarily suppress legitimate firearm-related commerce, it also results in a less competitive and innovative market of firearms, ammunition and related products.

However, the situation is now poised to change for the better. Thanks to two Trump administration rulemakings designed to enhance the competitiveness of American companies in the firearm and ammunition sectors, burdens on small businesses will be removed and export controls will be modernized, improving security. The rulemakings are part of a larger, longstanding project to modernize America’s export regime for military and “dual-use” equipment and technology. Dual-use items are those considered to have both military and civilian applications.

The governing philosophy of the project is to “build a taller fence around a smaller yard” by strengthening controls on the most militarily significant items, while allowing less sensitive material, with well-established civilian uses and markets, to exist in a more business-friendly regulatory climate.

The current rulemakings seek to transfer export control of most non-automatic firearms of .50 caliberor less, as well as their parts, accessories, components and magazines with a capacity of up to 50 rounds, from the jurisdiction of the State Department under ITAR to Commerce Department oversight.

The Commerce Department already regulates exports of certain shotguns, related parts, components, accessories and ammunition. Additionally, within the past several years, that department has assumed growing responsibility for dual-use items that were formerly subject to ITAR.

No one has suggested that Commerce is not up to the task of overseeing highly sophisticated items in such categories as spacecraft/satellites, nuclear technology and submersible vessels. The Obama administration, however, for purely political reasons, withheld the same treatment for firearms and ammunition that can be legally purchased from any number of big-box retailers.

With these new export reforms, President Donald Trump is improving the system to benefit America’s law-abiding gun owners. He has consistently promised to stand up for our Second Amendment freedoms, and through these proposals he is doing just that.

Chris W. Cox

BY Chris W. Cox

NRA-ILA Executive Director

Follow This Contributor

Chris W. Cox has served as the executive director of the Institute for Legislative Action, the political and lobbying arm of NRA, since 2002. As NRA’s principal political strategist, Cox oversees eight NRA-ILA divisions: Federal Affairs; State & Local Affairs; Public Affairs; Grassroots; Finance; Research & Information; Conservation, Wildlife & Natural Resources; and Office of Legislative Counsel. Cox also serves as chairman of NRA’s Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF), the Association’s political action committee; president of the NRA Freedom Action Foundation (NRA-FAF), which focuses on non-partisan voter registration and citizen education; and chairman of NRA Country, an effort to bring country music artists together with NRA members in support of our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage.

TRENDING NOW
Kentucky: Committee to Consider Firearm Seizures Without Due Process

Friday, November 15, 2019

Kentucky: Committee to Consider Firearm Seizures Without Due Process

On Friday, November 22nd, the Kentucky state Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary will consider so called “red-flag laws.” Though no legislation has been introduced, such laws usually allow for Second Amendment rights to be suspended ...

Joe Biden and His Gift for Gaffes

News  

Monday, November 18, 2019

Joe Biden and His Gift for Gaffes

When the Democrats who are seeking their party’s nomination to run against Donald Trump in 2020 start talking about guns, anyone who supports our right to keep and bear arms knows to be concerned. Of ...

A New Candidate for Confiscator-in-Chief

News  

Monday, November 11, 2019

A New Candidate for Confiscator-in-Chief

Former Texas Congressman Robert Francis O’Rourke abandoned his run for President last week, once again leaving a void for the most strident anti-gun candidate seeking the Democrat nomination. Even before declaring his candidacy for President, ...

No Protection for the Law that Protects the Firearm Industry: Supreme Court Passes on PLCAA Case

News  

Monday, November 18, 2019

No Protection for the Law that Protects the Firearm Industry: Supreme Court Passes on PLCAA Case

A law designed to protect the firearm industry from frivolous litigation is now in jeopardy thanks to inaction by the U.S. Supreme Court, which earlier this month passed on a petition to review a case ...

Strong Firearms Preemption Laws are More Important Than Ever

News  

Gun Laws  

Monday, November 11, 2019

Strong Firearms Preemption Laws are More Important Than Ever

Photo Courtesy of Jeremy Tremp In recent weeks, gun owners have been given two prime examples of just how important strong firearms preemption laws are to the vibrant exercise of Second Amendment rights. On October ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Sanders Burns the 2020 Democratic Primary Gun Control Agenda

News  

Monday, November 18, 2019

Sanders Burns the 2020 Democratic Primary Gun Control Agenda

As anti-gun as the 2020 Democratic presidential contenders have exposed themselves to be, much of the field still gives lip-service to the Second Amendment and the Constitution. Take for instance Joe Biden. The leading candidate’s campaign has said that ...

National Hearing Conservation Association Supports Suppressors

News  

Monday, November 4, 2019

National Hearing Conservation Association Supports Suppressors

Photo Courtesy of Silencer Shop On October 28th, the National Hearing Conservation Association sent its new position paper on firearms suppressors to the American Suppressor Association. The paper, in short, recognizes the important role that ...

Nevada: Gov. Sisolak Signs Anti-Gun Bill

Friday, June 14, 2019

Nevada: Gov. Sisolak Signs Anti-Gun Bill

Ignoring the constitutional rights of law-abiding Nevadans, on June 14th, Governor Steve Sisolak signed omnibus anti-gun Assembly Bill 291 into law.  Your NRA would like to thank the many lawmakers who stood with our members and ...

Trading Freedom for Safety

News  

Monday, November 18, 2019

Trading Freedom for Safety

“[N]othing is more important than ensuring that our fellow students feel safe,” explained the editors of The Daily Northwestern, the campus newspaper at Northwestern University. The statement was part of a lengthy apology published by the editors, ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.