Open thread for night owls: Congress could stop U.S. from flooding world with more guns, but won't
John Lindsay-Poland coordinates Global Exchange’s project to Stop U.S. Arms to Mexico. At Focus on Foreign Policy, he writes—The U.S. Is Flooding the World With Guns. Congress Can Stop That:
When gun exporters and importers gather at a trade conference at the Trump Hotel in Washington later this month, they will confront mixed trends in their industry.
Gun manufacturing in the United States fell sharply in the first year of the Trump presidency, by more than 27 percent — a change widely attributed to gun buyers’ confidence that Trump would maintain or expand commercial access to firearms, limiting the impulse to stock up over a short period of time. Gun imports into the United States have also dropped significantly, with pistol imports falling by over 20 percent from 2016 to 2018.
But reduced gun production was partly compensated by a record level of U.S. gun exports to other nations, which grew by nearly 30 percent in 2017. U.S. gun companies dramatically increased their firearms exports globally — to 488,300 guns in 2017, more than in any year on record, according to a report by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). The United States exported even more firearms in 2018, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, and the Trump administration seeks to expand such exports even more.
Last year, the administration proposed a regulatory change to transfer the export licensing of guns to the much looser rules of the Commerce Department, which industry leaders expect will “significantly expand their opportunities,” while removing congressional oversight and severely reducing the capacity to control the end uses of exported weapons.
The proposed rule would apply to sniper rifles, semi-automatic assault rifles, and other weapons used in warfare around the world. The change would also effectively deregulate the production of 3D-printed weapons, which are currently considered exports.
But the proposed change was set back on July 11, when the House of Representatives approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA) to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that prohibits taking gun exports off the State Department’s U.S. Munitions List. [...]
The growth in U.S. gun sales outside the country occurred as the Trump administration’s weapons export licensing agency was understaffed and in devastating disarray, according to a State Department Inspector General report in February. [...]
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xTHIS IS AN ACTUAL HEADLINE pic.twitter.com/0U6EWTEeeO— Derek Johnson (@derekjGZ) July 23, 2019
BLAST FROM THE PAST
On this date at Daily Kos in 2008—Downing Street Memo - July 23, 2002:
Six years ago today, Matthew Rycroft, private secretary to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, wrote a secret memorandum to the U.K.’s ambassador to the U.S., David Manning. The memo contained the minutes of a meeting held that same morning between Blair and a few senior foreign policy advisers. It was exposed by the Sunday Times nearly three years later. Two paragraphs stood out.
Rycroft spoke about a trip that Sir Richard Dearlove had recently taken to Washington. Dearlove, the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service or MI6, is referred to officially as «C»:
C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.
And there was this:
The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.
Many people who were attentive to the White House’s public statements saw hints that a decision already had been made to invade Iraq well before that secret memo was sent to its select group of addressees.
On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Mueller is set to testify tomorrow. Trump casually discusses mass murder. Why Pence turned around (the day Trump died). Senate Dems appear dead set on repeating past rules mistakes. Papers, please. Oh, you have them? Well, lol/yolo/nm.
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