WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (CA-35) released the following statement today after the Trump Administration finalized a rule to loosen firearm export regulations, making it easier for gun manufacturers to sell weapons abroad.
The rule change transfers oversight of commercial firearm exports from the U.S. Department of State to the Department of Commerce, a move Rep. Torres attempted to prevent with legislation in 2019.
That bill, the Prevent Crime and Terrorism Act, which would have prevented the President from finalizing firearms exports regulation, passed in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020, but was removed in the final version.
“President Trump’s decision to loosen regulations on U.S. firearm and ammunition sales only helps dictators, terrorists and narco-traffickers with easier access to weapons of war,” Rep. Torres said. “This isn’t about making the American people safer – it’s about placing firearm sales over our national security, plain and simple.”
Among the restriction changes Trump eased, firearm sales of over $1 million no longer require Congressional notification.
“Trump’s decision is dangerous and disingenuous, and it demonstrates his willingness to use – and misuse – the agencies of our federal government to achieve questionable ends,” Rep. Torres continued. “Murder rates in Latin America are already horrifyingly high – nearly 35,000 people were killed last year in Mexico alone. Instead of helping to save lives, this administration is streamlining the flow of weapons and ensuring Congress is less prepared to prevent tragedies.”
Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, endorsed the Prevent Crime and Terrorism Act.
“The Trump Administration chose gun industry profits over public safety,” Adzi Vokhiwa, Giffords Federal Affairs Manager said. “The Administration followed the whims of a president willing to use arms transactions for his own ends, without any regard for the very serious foreign policy concerns that come with this new regulation. Since this ill-conceived proposal was first announced nearly two years ago, human rights, arms control, and gun safety organizations repeatedly made it clear that oversight of firearms exports should remain with the State Department, which has the expertise to ensure that weapons do not fall into the wrong hands. We thank Representative Torres and her allies for fighting to ensure the sale of firearms both domestically and abroad continues to have the highest level of scrutiny.”
On May 14th, 2019, Giffords and more than 100 other organizations signed a letter to Congress opposing the Administration’s rule change.