US imposes restrictions on firearms exports to multiple countries, including CARICOM nations

United States Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
(Rodney Choice/AP Images for US Census)

The Biden Administration, through the actions of the United States (US) Commerce Department, handed down new restrictions to limit the sales of firearms exports to some 36 countries. This announcement was made by the United States Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo recently, who declared that under the new regulations gun specialists will now have to restrict sales to nations that are “high-risk” for illegal diversion of semi-automatic weapons.

In discussing the changes Secretary Raimondo said, “under our new review process, it will be much harder to export these weapons to civilians in countries that pose national security risks…the days of exporting military-style weapons to civilians in unstable countries are over.”

Following through with the announcement from the Commerce Department the nations identified are Bangladesh, Belize, Boliva, Faso, Burundi, Chad, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Loas, Malaysia. Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria. Pakistan, Panama, Papua, New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, and Yemen.

The Commerce Department announcement that it had examined the considerable risk of the misuse or diversions of these weapons; thus, the new and final rule will now place limits on exports to non-governmental uses in the countries named.

In addition, to this new regulation, the Commerce Department has also announced that its Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) will revoke permits that are now in effect and permits export weapons to non-governmental end users. “There will now be significant barriers to the importation of arms, ammunition components, and spare parts,” the secretary of commerce added during her announcement.

The commerce secretary further explained that “with this new policy, you start with a presumption of denial of any application coming from any of the territories deemed high risk.”  This highlights further that no longer can any private businesses from the 36 countries who are gun merchants and non-governmental businesses be allowed to import ammunition from the US government. However, government agencies, such as the defense force, the police and the prisons will experience less struggles, but they too will encounter some barriers with their importation of firearms and ammunition from the US.

Caribbean leaders recently declared a “war on guns” pledging to outlaw assault weapons and collaborating their support for Mexico in its legal actions against the United States arms producers. According to reports, there are little doubts from Caribbean leaders that the United States is a major source to the illicit firearms in the Caribbean. One agreement from the CARICOM leaders is that firearms and ammunition are trafficked from the United States to the Caribbean via commercial airlines, postal and fast parcel services, and maritime shipping companies.