The Bureau of Industry and Security has issued an interim final rule that, effective May 30, will amend the licensing policy for exports of firearms, shotguns, and related items (e.g., discharge-type arms, optical devices, ammunition, and related technology and software) controlled under ECCNs 0A501, 0A502, 0A504, 0A505, 0A506, 0A507, 0A508, 0A509, 0B501, 0B505, 0D501, 0D505, 0E501, 0E504, and 0E505. BIS states that this rule “reflects a targeted approach to significantly reduce the risk of diversion or misuse of lawfully exported U.S.-origin firearms to foreign criminals, gangs, terrorists, and other malign actors.”

According to a BIS press release, specific changes include the following.

- BIS will increase scrutiny of legal firearms shipments on a transaction-by-transaction level based on specific national security and foreign policy factors, including terrorism risks, human rights concerns, state fragility, corruption, the nature and capabilities of the firearm, and past instances of diversion and misuse.

- BIS will apply a “presumption of denial” standard to export license applications involving non-governmental recipients located in a destination where the State Department has determined there is substantial risk that firearm exports will be diverted or misused in a manner contrary to U.S. national security and foreign policy interests (click here for the current list, which comprises 36 countries).

- Effective July 1 BIS will revoke currently valid licenses that authorize exports of firearms to non-government end-users in these destinations, though license holders may reapply so their applications can be reviewed under the new standard.

- BIS will adopt new export control classification numbers (including for semi-automatic firearms and related items) to track what kinds of firearms U.S. manufacturers are exporting.

- BIS is reducing the general license validity period from four years to one year.

- For countries with less-developed export control regimes, BIS will require the submission of additional documents from licensees before approving a license, including a purchase order and import certification.

BIS adds that the International Trade Administration is implementing changes to its client eligibility policy that will curtail the promotion of firearms exports and exports of other items destined for commercial end-users that could be misused by malign actors.

For more information on this rule and how it may affect your business, please contact attorney Kristine Pirnia (at (202) 730-4964 or via email.

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