A nonpartisan Beltway accountability and public integrity group has asked the U.S. State Department for the full details behind the recent sanctions against Russian ammunition. 

Empower Oversight Whistleblowers & Research based in Arlington, Virginia, is concerned that the ban could be a "deceptive abuse of the sanctions process in order to pursue President Biden’s domestic gun control agenda and restrict Americans' access to ammunition by administrative fiat." 

As such, they have filed a six-page Freedom of Information Request with the State Department seeking communications and documents of the events since the Biden-Harris administration took the reins in D.C. on Jan. 20, 2021. They specifically asked for records of communications between State Department personnel and various national anti-gun groups such as Everytown, Moms Demand Action, Giffords, and Brady. 

Empower points out that the State Department announced its Russian import ban eight weeks after President Biden announced a “whole-of-government approach” across government agencies to pursue gun control. While the sanctions are ostensibly to punish suspected Russian government involvement in the poisoning of anti-Putin critic Aleksey Navalny, Empower notes that the State Department "failed to assert any relationship between sanctioned ammunition manufacturers in Russia and Mr. Navalny’s poisoning."

The reasoning behind the sanctions is key as the U.S. Supreme Court has previously held that courts can overturn agency actions under the Administrative Procedure Act when the agency’s stated rationale behind the action is contrived.  

"The Department should promptly respond to Empower Oversight’s FOIA request and provide the documents needed to establish whether the stated purpose for its action restricting the exercise of Americans' Second Amendment rights was legitimate or merely a pretext to cover a gun control agenda," stressed the group in a statement emailed to Guns.com. "If it refuses, litigation may be necessary."

Banner image: Red Army Standard, Russian-made 7.62x39mm ammo. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

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