Proposed export reform will boost international gun sales, industry expects

New export rules could open the door for smaller businesses hoping to sell guns overseas. (Photo: Wall Street Journal)

Firearm industry experts believe the proposed export reform will boost international gun sales.

Orchid Advisors works with gun retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers to ensure legal compliance. The group said this week the suggested amendments to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) will allow small business owners to compete overseas.

“If the dream of retail exporters of firearms, components or accessories is for international transactions to be no more complicated than domestic sales, ECR will put that dream almost within reach for sellers who implement the right systems,” said Jeff Grody, of Orchid Advisors, in a blog post on Monday.

The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls unveiled the long-awaited ITAR changes last month, shifting oversight of commercial arms sales to the Commerce Department and its Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

The rule change would give American manufacturers more leeway to sell guns internationally. Lawrence Keane, senior vice president for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said in September relaxed restrictions would boost annual gun sales by as much as 20 percent.

“One of the guideposts we used in writing the proposed policy change was to look at what’s commercially available in sporting goods stores in the United States — products where the majority of the end users are not military,” a senior Commerce Department official told The Washington Times.

The proposal removes non-automatic and semi-automatic firearms from ITAR categories I and II. Corresponding parts and ammunition will no longer remain in category III. Firearms dealers large and small would no longer pay a $2,250 ITAR registration fee or a $250 licensing fee.

Instead, the products will transfer to the EAR and undergo far less scrutiny.

“These ‘facts of life’ for the international retail market in U.S. firearm parts will change under ECR in ways that will open doors for U.S. sellers and their international customers,” Grody said. “Taken together, these changes will make the international after-market easily accessible for U.S. sellers who want to reach foreign consumers directly.”

Regulators published the new rules in the Federal Register last month. The public comment period ends July 9.

Article updated June 15, 2018 at 9:16 am EST

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