GOP senator introduces bill to protect US gun exporters from Biden admin’s license pause

by Tommy Grant

A Republican senator is leading a bill to prevent the secretary of commerce from restricting export licenses for American gun manufacturers.

Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee introduced the Protecting American Gun Exporters Act on Monday to bar Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo from going through with her department’s 90-day pause on gun export licenses.

“The arbitrary halt of firearm export licenses by the Biden administration lacks both justification and necessity,” Lee said in a press release.

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“The Protect American Gun Exporter Act guards our manufacturers against capricious policy shifts that unfairly target livelihoods simply because of industry affiliation,” Lee continued.

Joining Lee on the bill are fellow GOP Senators John Thune of South Dakota, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Steve Daines of Montana, Mike Braun of Indiana, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Rick Scott of Florida.

Additionally, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., is leading the House companion bill.

“Restricting the lawful export of firearms and related components is just another tactic to hamstring the American firearms industry,” Thune, the Senate GOP whip, said in a press release. “I’m proud to support this legislation that would protect U.S. jobs and weaken illicit arms dealers.”

“This administration has proved it will stop at nothing to erode the rights of people in Wyoming to keep and bear arms,” Lummis said. “This arbitrary pause is the latest example of the Biden administration’s gun-grabbing policies that seek to undermine the people of Wyoming’s constitutional rights and attack gun manufacturers.”

“As a proud defender of our Second Amendment, I am partnering with Senator Lee to protect law-abiding citizens’ right to bear arms from this administration’s egregious and unfounded overreach,” she continued.

“Congress shouldn’t need a bill to ensure federal agencies do their job, yet here we are,” Green said. “My Protect American Gun Exporters Act requires the Department of Commerce to do the job laid out for it by Congress, bolstering the American business community, instead of anti-gun power grabs.”

“Law-abiding citizens should be allowed to protect themselves, and law-abiding business owners should be allowed to sell to them,” he continued. “I appreciate Senator Lee’s leadership and support for this in the Senate.”

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Specifically, Lee’s bill would strip Raimondo of her authority to take “any action to carry out the Department of Commerce’s assessment or any policy changes resulting from the assessment announced on October 27, 2023, relating to the Department’s pause in the issuance of new export licenses for exports of all items controlled under” the department’s “Commerce Control List.”

Additionally, the bill prohibits the Commerce secretary from taking “any substantially similar action to pause or otherwise suspend or prohibit the issuance of new export licenses for exports of any or all items described” in the bill’s first paragraph.

The lawmakers’ bill comes after Republicans on the House Small Business Committee demanded answers from the Department of Commerce on the pause.

Chairman Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, led a letter to Commerce Undersecretary for Industry and Security Alan Estevez earlier this month regarding the department’s pause on issuing gun export licenses.

“The Biden Administration is continuing its relentless attack on small businesses with yet another decision that will only make our entrepreneurs’ lives more difficult,” Williams said.

“Moreover, this decision could very well be in violation of our Second Amendment – which I will not stand for,” Williams warned.

Fox News Digital has reached out to the Department of Commerce for comment.

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