NSSF Mobilises Against BIS's New Regulatory Changes

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has implemented significant changes to the export regulations for shotguns and optics, with immediate and far-reaching implications for the firearm industry.

Initially set as a temporary measure, the so-called "90-day" pause has evolved into a more permanent regulatory framework with the release of the interim final rule on Friday, April 26, and its publication in the Federal Register on April 30. These regulations are set to take effect on May 30, 2024, with a public comment period extending until July 1, 2024.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF) is mobilizing its members and the broader industry to voice their concerns and outline the economic impact of these regulations through public comments. The new rule has significantly shortened the validity of export licenses from four years to just one year, although exceptions exist for intra-company or government contract exports.

Under the new framework, BIS has introduced four new Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCNs) targeting semi-automatic rifles, pistols, shotguns, and specific firearm parts. Furthermore, the rule has expanded the Crime Control (CC) reason for control across all 500 series ECCNs and revised the Country Chart column CC2 to mandate licenses for exports to all countries, except Canada. This marks a significant shift from previous regulations where long-barrelled shotguns and optics could be exported to certain countries without a license.

The rule also abolishes the "presumption of approval" for exports, moving towards a case-by-case basis determination for all countries except for the 36 identified as "high risk" by the U.S. Department of State, which are now subject to a "presumption of denial" policy. Exporters must now also provide additional documentation such as purchase orders and import certificates, and in some cases, the personal identification of the importer.

In a separate but related development, BIS has adjusted its regulations under the AUKUS Trilateral Security Partnership, which affects exports to Australia and the UK. Since April 19, all exports of long-barrelled shotguns and optics to these countries require a BIS license—a change from the previous "No License Required" status. This update has already impacted exporters, as shipments made after this date without the necessary licenses are now in violation of the new rule.

NSSF is thoroughly reviewing the extensive 130-page document to better understand the overall impact of these changes and is preparing a comprehensive response to BIS. Additionally, NSSF plans to host an online webinar to guide exporters through the new rule and its implications. The foundation continues to encourage participation in its survey to collect economic impact data, which will be crucial in challenging BIS's estimates and advocating for industry interests.

NSSF Supports Senator Hagerty's Initiative to Challenge BIS Rule Curtailing U.S. Firearm Exports

In Washington, D.C., the National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, has announced its full endorsement of U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty's (R-Tenn.) efforts to counteract a new regulation that could significantly impact U.S. exports of firearms, ammunition, and optics. 

Senator Hagerty plans to introduce a Congressional Review Act (CRA) Resolution of Disapproval aimed at blocking the Bureau of Industry and Security’s (BIS) Interim Final Rule, which he and other critics argue is a politically motivated measure by the Biden administration to harm the firearms and ammunition industry.

The BIS Interim Final Rule, which revisits firearm export licenses under the pretext of national security, has drawn sharp criticism for potentially causing a substantial economic burden on U.S. manufacturers and exporters, with a projected impact exceeding $250 million. This rule, initially introduced as a "90-day pause" on October 27, 2023, to reassess firearm export policies, extended beyond 180 days, interrupting the Export Control Reforms that were finalized under the previous administration.

Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel, expressed strong opposition to the Biden administration's actions, stating, "President Joe Biden’s hostility against Second Amendment rights and our industry clearly shows no bounds and he’s used every governmental lever to crank up punishing restrictions that will have no bearing on improving national security or crime reduction."

Under the new rule, the export license period for firearms would be reduced from four years to just one year, and new Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCN) would be established for various firearms and related items. Licenses will now be issued on a stringent case-by-case basis, incorporating criteria such as foreign policy considerations, national security risks, and potential human rights abuses. Furthermore, there will be a presumption of denial for firearm exports to countries labeled as “at risk” by the State Department, affecting 36 nations primarily in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia.

In response to these changes, all previously approved firearm export licenses to these "high risk" countries will be revoked 60 days after the rule’s publication on April 30, 2024. Affected U.S. companies will be required to reapply for new licenses. The NSSF has expressed its intent to explore legal avenues and plans to submit detailed comments during the public comment period, which remains open until July 1.

The NSSF urges all stakeholders and individuals who oppose this rule to participate in the public commenting process, emphasizing the significant economic and operational challenges it presents to the U.S. firearms industry.

W: www.nssf.org