Sending Office: Honorable Norma J. Torres
Support Oversight of Firearms Exports
**Deadline: August 23rd**
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Please join me in urging the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to include a key provision that preserves congressional oversight and regulation of firearms exports.
In recent years, easy access to firearms has fueled the rise of terrorist groups like ISIS and drug trafficking organizations such as Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel. As the world’s largest firearms exporter, the United States must focus on making sure that firearms
don’t end up in the wrong hands. Unfortunately, the Trump administration has proposed a rule that would actually weaken the rules for exporting firearms, posing serious risks to national security and human rights.
If the Trump administration’s proposed rule goes into effect, oversight for firearms exports will transfer from the State Department to the Commerce Department. Firearms exports will be approved with little to no congressional oversight and could end up
in the hands of criminals, terrorists, and other bad actors. In fact, reports have indicated that the new rules would allow for the proliferation of 3-D printed weapons, which would be a major blow to efforts to combat international gun trafficking.
The House-passed FY2020 NDAA contains Section 1050, a provision that would prevent the President from moving items from Categories 1-3 of the United States Munitions List to the Commerce Control List. The items included in these categories are principally
significant military equipment, including firearms, flame throwers, and ammunition.
The Senate-passed bill does not include this provision – so it is imperative that the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees are made aware of the support this provision has in the House.
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Norma J. Torres
Dear Chairmen Smith and Inhofe and Ranking Members Thornberry and Reed,
We write to express our strong support for Section 1050 of H.R. 2500, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020.
Section 1050 was included in the NDAA following the adoption of Torres of California Part B. Amendment #10 in the House of Representatives. The provision would prevent the President from moving items from Categories 1-3 of the United States Munitions List
to the Commerce Control List. The items included in these categories are principally significant military equipment, including firearms, flame throwers, and ammunition. It is critical that such items remain on the United States Munitions List, ensuring that
they are subject to State Department export licensing processes, as well as congressional oversight and notification of sales in excess of $1,000,000. Section 1050 would not create any new restrictions on firearms exports but rather would maintain the current
system of State Department regulation.
This provision is timely because the Trump Administration has proposed a rule (RIN: 0694-AF47, May 24, 2018) that would transfer multiple items, including semi-automatic rifles and pistols, from the USML to the Commerce Control List. Enacting this proposed
rule would be a grave and unnecessary error which would remove congressional oversight over firearms exports and transfer licensing control from the State Department to the Commerce Department.
Additionally, the State Department has a far more robust end-use monitoring program than the Commerce Department and puts much greater emphasis on pre-license checks. The State Department’s approach prevents misuse and diversion and helps prevent firearms
from falling into the hands of drug traffickers, terrorists, and dictators, posing significant risks to global stability, to our allies, and to U.S. servicemembers abroad. Furthermore, the removal of such items from the USML would allow the publishing of blueprints
for 3-D firearms online, which could have serious and unforeseen consequences for public safety and national security.
For these reasons, we respectfully request that you include the language from Section 1050 in the final conference report. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this important request.
Members of Congress
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