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WASHINGTON -U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) sent a letter urging the Biden administration to end the Department of Commerce’s pause on issuing new export licenses for American firearms manufacturers. This pause, initiated on October 27, 2023, purportedly to enhance national security interests, has instead inflicted financial harm on numerous businesses without tangible security benefits. Despite indicating the pause would last approximately 90 days, the moratorium on issuing new export licenses remains in effect, and the Commerce Department refuses to clarify when it will lift the pause.

“90 days have now passed and the Commerce Department’s pause remains in full effect. The decision to keep the pause in place was never formally communicated to the businesses impacted by the decision, leaving the industry in a state of continued paralysis,” wrote the senators. “We are concerned that the rationale behind the continued imposition of the pause is to afford the Department additional time to promulgate new, unprecedently burdensome rules surrounding the approval of future export licenses for gun manufacturers. If the way in which the Commerce Department announced the current pause is indicative of how you intend to impose these new rules, we have grave concerns that this new regulatory regime will be implemented without proper Congressional oversight and industry input.” 

Risch, Crapo, and Lee were joined by Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) in signing the letter.

The full letter can be read here.