US aims to impose tighter curbs on civilian gun exports: Bloomberg

(Reuters) – The Biden administration is seeking to reduce the use of U.S.-made guns in foreign crimes and human rights violations by tightening oversight and rules governing commercial exports of semiautomatic weapons, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.This follows a review by the U.S. Commerce Department of its support for American gunmakers after a Bloomberg investigation linked increasing civilian gun exports to higher rates of global gun crime, according to the report, which cited draft rules obtained by Bloomberg.

Commerce Department officials described the proposed changes to advocacy groups and others last week, telling them that the U.S. State Department would have more influence over vetting exports to countries with poor human-rights records, the Bloomberg report said, citing people who were briefed.

Under the draft rules, officials would create distinct trade categories for semiautomatic firearms – including pistols, rifles and shotguns, making it easier for federal regulators to scrutinize exports of those weapons, Bloomberg said.

In October last year, the Commerce Department stopped issuing export licenses for most civilian firearms and ammunition for 90 days to assess the “risk of firearms being diverted to entities or activities that promote regional instability, violate human rights, or fuel criminal activities.”

(Reporting by Devika Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Mark Heinrich)