On July 8, 2020, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) published guidance relating to the U.S. Department of State’s final rule amending the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) and related BIS final rule, to transfer export controls of certain firearms, armament and ammunition from the U.S. Munitions List (“USML”) to the Commerce Control List (“CCL”). Through 107 Frequently Asked Questions, the guidance outlines Commerce’s approach to the controls including, recordkeeping, registering and applying for licenses, brokering controls, license exceptions, and clearance requirements. It also defines certain key terms to distinguish, among other things, additive manufacturing and 3D printing.
The final rules, which became effective on March 9, 2020, are based on an interagency review and determination by President Trump that certain articles no longer warrant control under USML Category I (Firearms, Close Assault Weapons and Combat Shotguns), Category II (Guns and Armament) and Category III (Ammunition/Ordnance), as they do not provide a “critical military or intelligence advantage to the United States and, in the case of firearms, do not have an inherently military function.” Further, since there is a “significant worldwide market for items in connection with civil and recreational activities such as hunting, marksmanship, competitive shooting, and other non-military activities,” the CCL of the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) “is the appropriate source of authority to control these firearms, ammunition, and other articles.”