In a significant move, the United States has temporarily ceased the issuance of new export licenses for firearms and ammunition to non-governmental users worldwide, with exceptions for select locations, announced the Commerce Department.
During this 90-day pause, the agency will conduct an extensive review of current firearm export control policies to assess whether adjustments are necessary to further the interests of US national security and foreign policy. The Commerce Department’s announcement on Friday stressed the urgency of this review, aiming to better evaluate and mitigate the risk of firearms ending up in the hands of entities that could promote regional instability, violate human rights, or support criminal activities.
Certain countries, including Ukraine and Israel, currently embroiled in conflict, will still be considered for non-governmental export permits. Existing export licenses that have already been issued will remain valid, but applications in the process will be put on hold, the department clarified.
This directive has far-reaching implications, affecting a wide range of firearms and ammunition that are typically available in US gun stores, according to Joanna Reeves, an attorney specializing in arms export controls, as reported by Reuters. She noted that such a broad measure from the Commerce Department is unprecedented, even though individual country-specific policies have been implemented previously.
US firearm manufacturers, including Smith & Wesson Brands, may experience an impact due to this temporary ban.