WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Representatives Norma J. Torres (D-CA) and Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced the Prevent Crime and Terrorism Act to block the Trump Administration’s proposal to transfer firearm export regulation from the U.S. State Department to the U.S. Commerce Department. Experts have noted that the new regulations would weaken congressional oversight of firearms exports and would allow licenses to be approved with less scrutiny. The legislation has been endorsed by Giffords, Amnesty International USA, Global Exchange, and the Violence Policy Center.
“We should be doing everything we can to make sure guns don’t fall into the wrong hands,” said Torres. “Unfortunately, the Trump administration is doing just the opposite—making it easier for terrorists, drug cartels, and dictators to buy deadly weapons. If this dangerous proposal goes forward, we are going to see more instability in strategically important regions such as Central America. I’m proud to work with Chairman Engel to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
“The Trump Administration’s proposal means it will be easier to export grenade launchers, flame throwers, and undetectable plastic guns overseas with almost no oversight or accountability,” said Chairman Engel. “We need proper congressional oversight, so we can step in and make sure these weapons aren’t sent to bad actors, including terrorists, drug cartels, human rights abusers or violent criminals. I commend Rep. Torres for her continuing leadership on this issue, and I look forward to working with her as the Foreign Affairs Committee examines this matter in the weeks and months ahead.”
The Prevent Crime and Terrorism Act would prohibit the President from removing any items from the United States Munitions List, ensuring continued State Department oversight.
Torres and Engel were joined in introducing the bill by original co-sponsors Representatives David N. Cicilline (D-RI), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Robin L. Kelly (D-IL), Alan S. Lowenthal (D-CA), and Jim McGovern (D-MA).