Sens. Scott, Hagerty Call on Biden Administration to Withdraw Rule Curtailing Firearms Exports

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, and fellow Banking Committee Republican Senator Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) led 21 of their colleagues in calling on Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to withdraw the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) interim final rule severely restricting the issuance and limiting the lifespan of export licenses for firearms, ammunition, and certain accessories to overseas markets. The letter also calls for BIS leaders to testify in front of the Senate Banking Committee on the rule.

Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), JD Vance (R-Ohio), and Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.) joined Scott and Hagerty on the letter.

In the letter, the senators write, “The Department’s actions over the past year — including the controversial and unusual export pause on October 27, 2023, this unprecedented rulemaking, and the Department’s International Trade Administration (ITA) decision to curtail the promotion of firearms exports — collectively serve as yet another example of the Biden administration using the administrative state to target legal U.S. industries and advance progressive policies without meaningful consideration of the impact on U.S. commercial, economic, national security, and foreign policy interests.”

The letter continues, “We are concerned that the Department issued the Rule in an attempt to intentionally harm the firearms industry. As you know, many of these businesses rely on the export of firearms, related components, ammunition, and related assistance activities for such products to meet their bottom lines. We, therefore, call upon you to withdraw this deeply misguided rule and its associated license revocations. Additionally, we request that BIS Undersecretary Alan Estevez and Assistant Secretary Thea Kendler be available to testify before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.”

To read the full letter, click here.

This letter builds upon Senator Scott’s oversight of the Biden administration to ensure that it does not impose a restrictive progressive agenda on the lawful firearms industry. In October, the Ranking Member and fellow Senate Banking Committee member, Senator Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), demanded answers from Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on BIS’ firearm export practices after the Bureau notified the Committee of its plan to transfer firearms export licenses to a new division, the “Office of Embargoes and Human Rights.”

In November, Senator Scott joined Senator Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and 44 other senators in a letter to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo raising questions over the decision announced in October by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) to pause for 90 days the issuance of export licenses for firearms, ammunition, and certain accessories to most overseas markets. The letter noted the impact this pause could have on “U.S. commercial and economic interests” which according to the firearms and ammunition industry has an estimated “direct cost of at least $89 million associated with the 90 day pause and at least $238 million annually should the pause become permanent.”