A while back, the Trump administration announced it was looking at loosening export restrictions on certain firearms. Nothing game-changing, just American versions of the kind of weapons available from numerous overseas manufacturers. After all, guns are going to be bought. There’s little reason American companies shouldn’t have a shot of being the ones selling it.
However, it seems that Democrats are taking issue with that and are trying to stop it.
Last year, the administration proposed a regulatory change to transfer the export licensing of guns to the much looser rules of the Commerce Department, which industry leaders expect will “significantly expand their opportunities,” while removing congressional oversight and severely reducing the capacity to control the end uses of exported weapons.
The proposed rule would apply to sniper rifles, semi-automatic assault rifles, and other weapons used in warfare around the world. The change would also effectively deregulate the production of 3D-printed weapons, which are currently considered exports.
But the proposed change was set back on July 11, when the House of Representatives approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA) to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that prohibits taking gun exports off the State Department’s U.S. Munitions List.
Now, let’s be clear here. Nothing classified or high-tech was changed. These are the kinds of weapons that are being sold one way or another. We’re far from the only game in town when it comes to semi-automatic rifles, so-called “sniper rifles” which are really nothing more than accurate hunting rifles, and even the “other weapons used in warfare.” We’re not the only country with companies that make these.
However, critics are claiming that the United States has some kind of moral responsibility to stem the tide of guns flowing out of the country.
That is, of course, bull.
None of this really has anything to do with violence in other countries. Especially since the violence well pre-dated the regulatory change and will continue should the rule be reinstated. No, this has to do with trying to hurt American gun companies.
Since President Trump took office, gun companies have seen a massive decrease in sales. They’re able to compensate for that to some degree over the last year by increasing exports. By selling guns overseas, these companies can remain solvent until the remaining stock is sold and the American gun market normalizes.
This is a problem for anti-gun lawmakers. They see the amendment to the NDAA as being an opportunity to not just score some goodwill overseas but also to hurt American gun companies. I’ve argued before that if they can drive gun manufacturers out of business, they can sort of create gun control without actually passing gun control. It’s hard to buy guns if there are no guns for sale, right?
With this effort, they’re trying to tighten the screws on the firearm industry. They want to hurt the industry to potentially damage the market. Yes, I do think that’s part of what’s driving this effort.
The truth of the matter is that we have a gun industry in this country. A thriving one. Because of that, our gun industry needs a bigger market to help them stave off financial ruin.
Everyone knows damn good and well that we’re not the only game in town, though. Guns are going to be bought and sold outside of the U.S. Some bad things are going to happen as well.
The two aren’t necessarily linked, so stop pretending that gun companies are somehow responsible for the actions of others.