On Friday, the U.S. Commerce Department announced a temporary halt to the issuance of export licenses for most civilian firearms and ammunition for 90 days, citing vague “national security and foreign policy interests” as the rationale behind the decision, Reuters reported.

“The review will be conducted with urgency and will enable the Department to more effectively assess and mitigate risk of firearms being diverted to entities or activities that promote regional instability, violate human rights, or fuel criminal activities,” the agency said.

The ban includes a sweeping range of semiautomatic and non-automatic firearms like shotguns and optical sights.

This export halt will have a direct economic impact on leading U.S. firearms manufacturers such as Sturm Ruger & Co., Smith & Wesson Brands, and Vista Outdoor. It does affect some of the largest markets for American gun manufacturers, including Brazil, Thailand, and Guatemala, according to Bloomberg.

However, the temporary suspension of export licenses does not apply to Israel, Ukraine, and about 40 other countries that participate with the U.S. in a multilateral export-control agreement.

Experts in the field were quick to point out the unusual nature of the Commerce Department’s move. Johanna Reeves, a lawyer specializing in export controls and firearms, told Reuters that she had never seen such sweeping action before.

“For sure they have individual country policies — but nothing like this,” she said.

More from Bloomberg:

The Commerce Department is halting exports of most US-made firearms for 90 days and reviewing its support of the country’s biggest gun trade show to ensure it “does not undermine US policy interests” — steps that could slow two decades of growth of gun sales abroad.

While the department gave no indication of what long-term changes it will make, the review could alter or even reverse a set of notably pro-industry policies that have helped domestic manufacturers expand sales abroad.

Those include shifting in 2020 the oversight of most commercial gun exports from the State Department to the business-friendly Department of Commerce and strong support for the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show, known as SHOT Show, a gun marketing expo that occurs every January in Las Vegas.

The gun industry’s successful strategies to increase global sales of its products — in combination with friendly US policies — have been the subject of a months-long investigation by Bloomberg. The investigation began in July with an examination of gun sales to Thailand, which last year suffered one of the world’s worst mass killings. A story published Oct. 19 examined the lavish support the Commerce Department gives SHOT Show, including steering more than 3,200 international buyers to the event this year.

The Commerce Department declined to comment further when asked to explain the reason for the pause and for details of its review of the support it provides SHOT Show.

The post United States Freezes Export of Civilian Firearms and Ammo for 90 Days, Citing National Security appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

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