Rep. Green Demands Answers on Firearm Export Pause


Rep. Green Demands Answers on Firearm Export Pause 

WASHINGTON—Today, Rep. Mark Green gave his opening statement in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing titled, “Countering China on the World Stage: Empowering American Businesses and Denying Chinese Military Our Technology.”

Rep. Green’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

The United States of America is still the greatest and most powerful nation in the history of the world, and we can win any competition with Communist China. The only question is whether we’ll do it the smart way…or with our hands tied behind our backs.

At every turn, the Biden administration has hamstrung American businesses and ceded ground to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Most recently, the Department of Commerce—which has the statutory duty to foster and promote foreign and domestic commerce—completely stopped the issuance and renewal of certain export licenses to American exporters of firearms, ammunition, and related material. This pause was dumped on American businesses with zero warning and zero stakeholder engagement. 

This action by the Bureau, Mr. Estevez, is costing the industry over a hundred million dollars and is creating mass uncertainty. You said this pause was for “approximately 90 days,” yet we are now on day 146—exceeding the original timeframe by more than 50 percent. 

In November, when this pause was first announced, I led 87 of my colleagues in a letter demanding an explanation for this unprecedented action. All we received in response was an insubstantial letter that grossly misrepresented reports from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearm (ATF) agency. 

First of all, the GAO report was addressed to the Department of State, not the Department of Commerce, and its only recommendation was for State to increase firearms trafficking investigations. For the Department of Commerce to claim this as justification for freezing an entire industry is absurd. 

Secondly, the GAO report repeatedly emphasized that existing data is not sufficient to warrant permanent changes to export policies and that trafficked firearms are overwhelmingly sourced through the black market. Even the ATF report openly admitted that less than one percent of firearms lawfully exported from the U.S. were associated with an international gun crime. Stopping the lawful exportation of firearms does absolutely nothing to prevent international gun crimes, but it will destroy American businesses.

Rather than facilitate commerce and help our businesses compete against China, BIS is targeting American gun exporters for crimes they did not commit while the real perpetrators of violence go unpunished. The industry is already highly regulated; any action to limit U.S. participation will only allow countries like China to step in and fill the gap. China is among the largest exporters of these types of firearms. It is well-known that the CCP’s strategy to combat the United States is to destabilize the Western Hemisphere by trafficking in fentanyl precursors, so there’s no reason to think they won’t do the same with firearms.

To right this wrong, I introduced the Protect American Gun Exporters Act. This bill would


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