On Friday, the U.S. Commerce Department announced a 90-day suspension of the issuance of export licenses for most civilian firearms and ammunition, citing “national security and foreign policy interests” as its rationale.
This ban includes a wide array of semiautomatic and non-automatic firearms such as shotguns, optical sights, and more.
Leading American gun manufacturers including Sturm Ruger & Co., Smith & Wesson Brands, and Vista Outdoor will suffer from an economic impact due to this suspension which applies to markets such as Brazil, Thailand, and Guatemala. However, it does not affect about 40 countries that participate in a multilateral export-control agreement with the U.S., including Israel and Ukraine.
Experts in the field were quick to note the unusual nature of this move by the Commerce Department; Johanna Reeves, an attorney specializing in export controls and firearms stated that she had never seen such sweeping action before.
“For sure they have individual country policies — but nothing like this.”
The Commerce Department has announced a 90-day halt on the export of most US-made firearms and is conducting an internal review to ensure that its support of the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) does not conflict with US policy interests.
Through this review, long-term changes may be implemented that would reverse pro-industry policies which have been in place for the past two decades and facilitated significant growth in gun sales abroad.
Bloomberg recently conducted a months-long investigation into gun industry strategies used to increase global sales, as well as supportive US policies; it began with an examination of gun sales to Thailand following one of the world’s worst mass killings there last year.
This inquiry also revealed extensive government support for SHOT Show, including the steering of more than 3200 international buyers to attend this year’s event.