Surge in US arms exports should be curbed, say senators

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WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have called on the U.S. Commerce Department to limit assault weapons exports and increase oversight of firearms exports after a decision by the U.S. Trump’s era of easing gun export laws has boosted sales, according to a letter sent on Wednesday and seen by Reuters.

The lawmakers wrote that they were « seriously concerned about Commerce Department actions that have weakened export oversight of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, boosting profits for the firearms industry while by putting deadly weapons in the hands of corrupt actors around the world ».

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The letter, which was signed by Warren and Senator Chris Murphy, as well as Representatives Joaquin Castro and Norma Torres, was sent to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

In 2020, President Donald Trump’s administration facilitated firearms exports by transferring oversight of export licensing from the US State Department to the Department of Commerce.

The rule change was expected to increase the business of gunsmiths such as Smith & Wesson Brands Inc and Sturm Ruger & Co Inc.

In the first 16 months since the Commerce Department took over firearms export licensing, it approved nearly $16 billion in licenses. Lawmakers, citing US government data, said that was a 30% increase from when the State Department controlled gun licensing.

« It’s hard to see how the increase in Commerce Department approvals for assault weapons exports is consistent with the administration’s gun safety program and commitment to return gun controls. exporting firearms licenses to the State Department, » Warren said in a statement.

Warren and other Democrats also expressed concern that since the takeover, the Commerce Department had denied 0.4% of license applications and approved 95%. (Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)


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