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WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo (both R-Idaho) joined Senator Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and 43 other Senators in a letter to Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce Gina Raimondo raising questions over the decision to pause for 90 days the issuance of export licenses for firearms, ammunition and certain accessories to most overseas markets. The decision was announced last month by the Bureau of Industry and Security. This unprecedented move is the latest chapter in the Biden Administration’s hostility toward America’s firearms industry.

The letter notes 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.”

“[F]irearms exports to non-government users in countries not covered by the exception constitute a significant percentage of overall U.S. firearm exports,” the letter reads. “This pause puts at stake U.S. commercial and economic interests, as well as those business interests of firearm exporters whose pending exports are now subject to pause, in addition to U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.”

Citing “significant concerns about the justifications for and ramifications of this pause” and concerns that the “unmet demand created by this action will promote opportunities for less scrupulous, professional, or conscientious sources of supply to fill the void, thereby strengthening illicit arms markets,” the Senators are demanding a response to their inquiry by no later than November 30.

Read the letter here.