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Reports: White House to Shift Nonmilitary Firearm Export Oversight to Commerce Dept

The White House plans to transfer oversight of exports of nonmilitary firearms from the State Department to the Commerce Department in an effort to generate jobs, address government red tape and increase small arms sales overseas, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Senior U.S. officials told Reuters the Trump administration could publicly announce a new firearm export policy this fall and implement it by the first half of 2018.

One official said the Trump administration could potentially submit the draft version of the rules to the Office of Management and Budget within days for evaluation.

“The [National Security Council] is working through the interagency process with the State Department and the Department of Commerce to ensure that U.S. industries have every advantage in the global marketplace, while at the same time ensuring the responsible export of arms,” said an official with NSC.

The Hill reported Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California) wrote a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging him to carefully assess the consequences before introducing changes to International Trafficking in Arms regulations for small arms, ammunition and light weapons.

“Combat firearms and ammunition are uniquely lethal” and “should be subject to more – not less – rigorous export controls and oversight,” the senators added.

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