Government Contracts BIS, State Dept. Restructure Controls for Firearms, Guns, Ammunition
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Monday, February 17, 2020

BIS, State Dept. Restructure Controls for Firearms, Guns, Ammunition

By Government Contracts Editorial Staff

The Department of State and the Bureau of Industry and Security have finalized, with changes, proposed rules (¶70,450.40, ¶72,755.72) addressing firearms, guns, ammunition, and related articles that no longer warrant control under the United States Munitions List (International Traffic in Arms Regulations 121.1). These items will now be controlled under the Commerce Control List (Supplement No. 1 to Export Administration Regulations Part 774). Both final rules go into effect on March 9, 2020.

ITAR. The final ITAR rule (¶70,445.129) revises Categories I (firearms, close assault weapons and combat shotguns), II (guns and armament), and III (ammunition and ordnance) of the USML to describe more precisely the articles that provide a critical military or intelligence advantage or, in the case of weapons, perform an inherently military function and thus warrant export and temporary import control on the USML. The rule renames Category I “USML Category I—Firearms and Related Articles” and amends the category to control only defense articles that are inherently military or that are not otherwise widely available for commercial sale. The rule revises Categories II and III to establish a bright line between the USML and the CCL for the control of the covered articles. Items not subject to the ITAR or the exclusive licensing jurisdiction of any other set of regulations are now subject to the EAR. These revisions complete the initial review of the USML commenced by the Department in 2011.

EAR. Under the final EAR rule (¶72,750.467), items formerly controlled in USML Category II will be controlled on the CCL under four new “600 series” Export Control Classification Numbers. Placement of the items currently in USML Category II into the CCL’s 600 series is consistent with existing BIS practice of using 600 series ECCNs to control items of a military nature. Items currently controlled in USML Categories I and III will be controlled in new ECCNs in which the third character is a “5.” BIS will require authorization to export or reexport to any country a firearm or other weapon that is being moved from the USML to the CCL by this final rule, including releases of related technology and software to foreign persons in the U.S. Although the rule also controls certain software and technology capable of producing firearms, when posted on the Internet, to protect important U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, the rule freely permits communication of ideas regarding such software or technology.

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