First Up: Commerce Department Export Freeze
The US Commerce Department has temporarily stopped issuing export licenses to American companies seeking to sell guns and ammo to foreign non-governmental end users. This move, especially after the concerns with Lake City's halting of commercial 5.56mm sales, is creating a bit of uncertainty right now in the domestic guns and ammo market. But we don't think this warrants any serious concern.
Companies like Sig, Ruger, or S&W can't just freely ship guns and ammo overseas for resale; sales to clients outside the country can't ship before being approved via export licenses (permission slips) issued by the US Government. The idea here is to prevent sensitive items from being sold to terrorist organizations or other end users operating against US interests.
There are three main agencies that regulate exports from the United States to overseas clients:
- Office of Foreign Assets Control (US Treasury Department)
- Primarily dealing with economic controls and sanctions
- Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (US State Department)
- Dealing with the export of items subject to ITAR/USML restriction
- Bureau of Industry and Security (US Commerce Department)
- Dealing with the export of commercial firearms and ammo to non-governmental end users. Basically, they control the export of what you'd find in a regular gun store.
Because this pause in export licenses primarily affects non-governmental end users, it's coming from the US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). If you aren't familiar with BIS, here's the Wikipedia summary:
The mission of the BIS is to advance U.S. national security, foreign policy, and economic interests. BIS's activities include regulating the export of sensitive goods and dual-use technologies in an effective and efficient manner; enforcing export control, anti-boycott, and public safety laws; cooperating with and assisting other countries on export control and strategic trade issues; assisting U.S. industry to comply with international arms control agreements; monitoring the viability of the U.S. defense–industrial base; and promoting federal initiatives and public-private partnerships to protect the nation's critical infrastructures.
Exports to close allies like Canada and the UK will continue, and sales to places like Ukraine and Israel will keep going, but many other commercial markets will be affected. From the official release:
Effective immediately, the U.S. Department of Commerce (the Department) is pausing for approximately 90 days the issuance of new export licenses involving certain firearms, related components, and ammunition under its jurisdiction and the provision of new export assistance activities for such products to all non-governmental end users worldwide, apart from those in certain destinations. The Department may take additional steps to further U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.
During this “pause” period, the Department will further assess current firearm export control review policies to determine whether any changes are warranted to advance U.S. national security and foreign policy interests. The review will be conducted with urgency and will enable the Department to more effectively assess and mitigate risk of firearms being diverted to entities or activities that promote regional instability, violate human rights, or fuel criminal activities.
As you probably know, the US is a major exporter of guns and ammo to clients all around the world. The Middle East is no exception, and American companies export a lot of hardware to places like Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Saudi Arabia. These exports don't always go to foreign militaries and governments, either; frequently these sales of guns and ammo go to private organizations or foreign commercial distributors.
The war in Israel is causing tremendous regional tensions among and between Middle Eastern countries. Because US gun and ammo companies export a considerable amount of product to these countries, it makes sense to press pause here; it's just the logical card to play.
This 90-day pause on exports isn't a gun control thing; it's a geopolitics thing. And, if anything, this may be good news for the American ammo buyer, because gun and ammo distributors may unexpectedly have some extra inventory on hand.
To be clear – you should still be buying ammo and magazines. But we don't project this latest wrinkle in export markets will be of major concern to the average Joe unless the YouTube personalities can stir up a frenzy of panic buying.
3D Printing & DIY
Tactical Machining Bows Out
The good folks over at Tactical Machining – one of the plaintiffs in Vanderstok v. Garland – are being forced to throw in the towel, as ATF's "overstep first and get reigned in later" approach to lawfare proves to be fatal to yet another law-abiding member of the gun industry.
Compared to small businesses, the federal government has unlimited lawyers, unlimited time, and unlimited money. The unfortunate reality is that most small businesses simply cannot afford a 12, 18, or 24-month shutdown due to sudden rule changes, let alone fight a lawsuit while they are suddenly unable to keep doing business.
Tactical Machining is getting out of the gun parts business and will be re-tooling to focus on commercial trailer accessories. We wish them well and thank them for their efforts to the cause.
ICYMI: The Plastic Power
Cody Wilson recently gave a talk at Hackers Congress Paralelní Polis 2023 in Prague. The talk is about 45 minutes, and it's followed by a short Q&A. In this talk, he examines Nietzsche's three types of history (monumental, antiquarian, and critical) as they relate to building Things, interacting with power, and destroying people or institutions. He also draws attention to the concept of "prolificity," which is a timely contextualization with regard to today's 3D gun world.
Wilson references Niklas Luhmann's The Reality of the Mass Media, and I would also suggest checking out anything on Profilicity by Dr.Hans-Georg Moeller for more on the topic. It's extremely relevant in the age of the social media protocol layer.
Wilson does take time to cover some uncomfortable ground relating to the increasingly bitter relationship among factions of the 3D gun community and his critical view of them.
It's a long watch but these aren't re-packaged talking points from 2015; there is plenty to consider here.
NYPD Ghost Gun Guide
Hat tip to AGLeaks for pointing this one out (link below). Someone uploaded to Odysee a PDF of the NYPD Intelligence Division's internal guide to Ghost Guns. This 37-page document is prepared for the Major Case Field Intelligence Team.