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US Halts Civilian Firearms and Ammunition Exports for 90 Days

For the next 90 days, the USA has stopped the issuing of export licences for most civilian firearms and ammunition, including non-governmental users.

The United States has suspended the issuance of export licenses for most civilian firearms and ammunition for 90 days, encompassing non-governmental users. 

The decision was announced by the Commerce Department, with the action attributed to national security and foreign policy interests.

Lack of Specific Details:

The Commerce Department did not provide detailed information regarding the suspension but mentioned that an urgent review would assess the risk of firearms being diverted to entities or activities that could promote regional instability, violate human rights, or fuel criminal activities.

This pause includes shotguns and optical sights, covering a wide range of guns and ammunition available for purchase in US gun stores, as per Johanna Reeves, a lawyer specializing in export controls and firearms.

Unprecedented Action:

Reeves noted that the Commerce Department’s action is unprecedented in scope and breadth, unlike any previous measures. 

While the department does have individual country policies, this suspension stands out as a unique decision.

Exemptions for Ukraine, Israel, and Close Allies:

Certain US allies, including Ukraine and Israel, will be exempted from the temporary export halt. 

However, the pause will affect US companies involved in firearms sales and could have implications for businesses such as Sturm Ruger & Co., Smith & Wesson Brands, and Vista Outdoor.

Overseas customers, such as distributors and stores selling firearms, will also be affected by this export ban.

Export License Requests During the Pause:

Exporters can continue to submit license requests during the 90-day pause, but these requests will be “held without action” until the suspension is lifted.

The temporary halt does not impact previously issued export licenses. Commerce clarified that shipments to government clients must name specific end users, with applications lacking named government, military, and police users being “returned without action.”

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