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Rep. Bera statement on Administration moving oversight of commercial firearm exports

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, released the following statement after reports of the Administration moving oversight of commercial firearm exports from the Department of State to the Department of Commerce.

“I am deeply disturbed by reports of the Administration’s decision, which will remove critical oversight mechanisms that will increase the probability that US firearms will be misused to create violence and instability around the world,” said Chairman Bera. “Some of our most urgent challenges – forced migration and the crisis on our southern border – is due in part because of the violence originating from the Northern Triangle countries where gangs, drug cartels and others will now have easier access to guns, including pistols, sniper rifles, and semi-automatic assault rifles. Increased violence will lead more families to flee their homes and make the dangerous trek to the US in search for a better life. We must ensure that we are not inadvertently creating a crisis in the Northern Triangle that makes its way to our southern border in the form of migration, crime, and terrorism.”

Rep. Bera continued: “While the current system is not perfect, the State Department is more equipped to ensure that our national security interests come first when it comes to firearm exports, not firearm sales. This unilateral rule change will also eliminate congressional oversight of certain weapons exports that raise national security or human rights concerns, undermining our ability to conduct effective oversight.”

The Foreign Affairs Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing in March 2019 examining the proposed small arms transfers. Please click here to watch the hearing.

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