The United States has halted the export of most civilian firearm exports for the next 90 days, the U.S. Department of Commerce said late Friday.
The Commerce Department did not provide further details for the pause, which also includes shotguns and optical sights, but said an urgent review will assess the “risk of firearms being diverted to entities or activities that promote regional instability, violate human rights, or fuel criminal activities.”
The ban doesn’t cover around 40 countries, including Israel and Ukraine, that have a separate export agreement for firearms. But it does cover some of the biggest markets for American gunmakers, including Brazil, Thailand and Guatemala.
Global government clients must describe who will end up with the firearms and the department will return “without action” any government applications not explicitly named.
While the department gave no indication of what long-term changes it might make, the review could alter or even reverse a set of notably pro-industry policies that have helped domestic manufacturers expand sales abroad.
Critics of the rule change praised the department’s decision. “For too long, firearms from the United States have contributed to violence and instability abroad,” said Representative Joaquin Castro.
All civilian license applications will be “held without action.”
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