November 17, 2023

Scott, Colleagues Demand Answers Over Biden Administration’s Unprecedented Pause of Firearms Export Licenses

Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Tim Scott (R-S.C.) joined Senator Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and 44 other senators in a letter to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo raising questions over the decision announced last month by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) to pause for 90 days the issuance of export licenses for firearms, ammunition, and certain accessories to most overseas markets. This unprecedented move is the latest chapter in the Biden administration’s hostility towards America’s firearms industry.

The letter notes the impact this pause could have on “U.S. commercial and economic interests” which according to the firearms and ammunition industry has an estimated “direct cost of at least $89 million associated with the 90 day pause and at least $238 million annually should the pause become permanent.”

Citing “significant concerns about the justifications for and ramifications of this pause” and concerns that the “unmet demand created by this action will promote opportunities for less scrupulous, professional, or conscientious sources of supply to fill the void, thereby strengthening illicit arms markets,” the Senators are demanding a response to their inquiry by no later than November 30.

To read the full letter, click here.

This letter builds upon Ranking Member Scott’s oversight of the Biden administration to ensure that it does not impose a restrictive progressive agenda on the lawful firearms industry. On October 11, the Ranking Member and fellow Senate Banking Committee member, Senator Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), demanded answers from Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on BIS’ firearm export practices after the Bureau notified the Committee of its plan to transfer firearms export licenses to a new division, the “Office of Embargoes and Human Rights.” In the letter, the senators expressed concern that this proposed reorganization could be leveraged to advance partisan efforts to restrict export licenses for lawful U.S. businesses, like the firearms industry, and warned the Biden administration against using the proposed reorganization to advance a progressive regulatory agenda that would undermine the competitiveness of U.S. businesses. The lawmakers wrote: “Under no circumstances should the Biden administration create a novel licensing division that politicizes export control licensing, undermines the competitiveness of U.S. companies, or inappropriately intervenes in lawful commercial sales that meet existing review requirements.”