April 30, 2024 – On October 27, 2023, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) announced that it was temporarily pausing all firearm exports to non-governmental end-users except for those located in Israel, Ukraine, and most of the Wassenaar Arrangement countries. That “temporary” pause was subsequently extended. Today, BIS published an Interim Final Rule – Revision of Firearm License Requirements (“IFR”), which has an effective date of May 30, 2024.  

The IFR amends the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) and adopts a presumption of denial for applications to export firearms to non-governmental end-users in the following countries: Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belize, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Vietnam, and Yemen. In addition, the Department of Commerce plans to revoke current licenses to export firearms to non-governmental end-users in these countries effective July 1, 2024.

In addition to adopting the policy to generally deny applications to export firearms to the above countries, the IFR also adopts several new Export Control Classification Numbers (“ECCN”). Since the transfer of jurisdiction over the export of most firearms from the Department of State to the Department of Commerce, there have been two ECCNs for firearms, 0A501 for rifles, handguns and non-sporting shotguns, and 0A502 for sporting shotguns. The IFR now provides separate ECCNs for firearms depending on whether they are semi-automatic or manually operated. For centerfire semi-automatic rifles and shotguns it also provides for different ECCNs depending on whether they have certain features typically referenced in “assault weapons” bans.

For centerfire semi-automatic rifles, the features are the “ability to accept a detachable large capacity magazine (more than 10 rounds) or may be easily modified to do so; folding, telescoping, or collapsible stock; separate pistol grips; or a flash suppressor.”  As a practical matter, this definition would encompass all centerfire semi-automatic rifles with the ability to accept a detachable magazine. For semi-automatic shotguns, the features are a “folding, telescoping, or collapsible stock; magazine over five rounds; a drum magazine; a flash suppressor; Excessive Weight (greater than 10 lbs. for 12 gauge or smaller); or Excessive Bulk (greater than 3 inches in width and/or greater than 4 inches in depth).” The likely reason for the adoption of new ECCNs governing semi-automatic firearms is an intention through future regulations to impose more restrictions on applications to export semi-automatic firearms than will apply to manually loaded firearms.

The IFR also reduces the period for which all future licenses to  export firearms remain valid from four years to one year. The Department of Commerce will also be reducing the validity period for already approved licenses to export firearms to non-governmental end-users (except to Israel, Ukraine, and most of the Wassenaar Arrangement countries) to one year from the effective date of the IFR. Thus, such licenses will no longer be valid after May 30, 2025.

The BIS will be accepting comments on the IFR through July 1, 2024. Renzulli Law Firm will continue to monitor new firearm-related administrative regulations. If you have any questions about the IFR and how it will affect your export of firearms, please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.