Administration May Ease Rules On U.S. Gun Sales

President Donald Trump walks across the tarmac after stepping off Air Force One upon arrival at Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, New Jersey, on September 15.

The Trump administration is lending a hand to U.S. gun makers who want to sell small arms to foreign buyers by easing export rules.

Trump's aides intend to relax restrictions on international non-military firearms sales by transferring oversight from the State Department to the Commerce Department, Reuters reported. The Commerce Department normally focuses on facilitating trade, whereas the State Department enforces rigorous restrictions on weapons deals, according to the news service.

Several anonymous officials from different agencies spoke with Reuters and suggested the administration's plan was under discussion, and, if approved, would increase the export of arms from the U.S. and potentially generate American jobs.

“There will be more leeway to do arms sales,” one senior administration official told the news service. “You could really turn the spigot on if you do it the right way.”

One official from the White House National Security Council said that any move by the Trump administration to shift oversight to the Department of Commerce would not be a complete deregulation of such sales.

“The NSC is working through the interagency process with the State Department and the Department of Commerce to ensure that U.S. industries have every advantage in the global marketplace, while at the same time ensuring the responsible export of arms,” the official told Reuters.

Such changes in arms sales do not require approval from Congress. A public announcement concerning the shift in oversight is likely to take place this fall, and implementation of new export rules would begin in the first half of 2018, official sources said.

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