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The business of America is business, and the firearms business is good. Especially in terms of foreign exports. Dd you know that Mexico was the second largest customer for U.S. arms last year, right after Afghanistan? Which doesn’t really count ’cause the Afghanis use our tax money to buy our gear. Or does it? If you’re a U.S. manufacturer of military arms who cares who’s paying for it as long as there’s no blowback? And political insurance is for sale (e.g. Remington’s closerthanthis relationship with gun control advocate Senator Chuck Schumer). That’s the CYA part of the “use the juice” business plan. The flip side? Sales! . . .

Mr. Obama has said he wants to double U.S. exports of all types by the end of 2014, a policy push that also includes bilateral free-trade agreements and a plan to reorganize government agencies that promote trade.

The proposed changes to weapons now subject to strict export regulation would cover a range of goods from firearms to drones, satellites and tanks, as well as civilian equipment with military uses . . .

Industry officials said the relaxation of export controls could help domestic arms makers and other firms boost sales by tens of billions of dollars.

This would be the same Obama administration that’s been creating more regulations (and regulators) to choke protect the banking and oil industries. The same President who’s minions have been kissing the gun grabbers’ collective ass at the UN, designing a Small Arms Treaty to control the “seepage” of firearms sold to “unauthorized” second parties.

Seems a rather sharp [pre-election] policy change don’tcha think? Well one thing’s for sure: the Department of Homeland Security and its subalterns aren’t happy with this sea change. Along with (guided by?) their good friends at the CIA and NSA, gun running to dodgy customers is their business . . .

The strongest objections were raised by the Homeland Security Department [sic]. In a recent internal memorandum to the White House and government agencies, the department said the proposed changes risked hindering the ability of its immigration and customs agents “to prevent or deter the illegal export/transfer of lethal items such as advanced firearms to criminal groups, terrorist organizations, or enemy combatants.”

The memo added: “This increased likelihood of the illegal export of lethal advanced firearms may put U.S. military, law enforcement or civilian personnel at increased risk.” . . .

Some law-enforcement and intelligence officials say the proposals could invite a sequel to “Fast and Furious,” a gun-trafficking enforcement program in which federal agents allowed suspected smugglers to buy about 2,000 firearms, hoping they would lead agents to smuggling bosses. Many of the weapons ended up at crime scenes along the U.S.-Mexico border, triggering a congressional probe.

A separate March 2012 Justice Department memo, also reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, cautioned against making any changes that could undermine the authorities of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to block weapons sales to countries subject to U.S. embargoes.

Color me confused. The federal bureau that enabled the illegal export of some 2000 firearms from American gun stores to narcoterrorists operating just south (and occasionally north) of the border, who used at least four of those guns to murder two U.S. federal agents, is worried that relaxing the laws for U.S. firearms export would lead the Bureau to commit another extra legal “Guns for Goons” program and create more risk for federal law enforcement officers?

That can’t be what they mean, can it? The part of diminishing their authority? That I believe. And applaud. Anyway, what’s in play here and who benefits?

Behind the current dispute are proposals from the State and Commerce departments that would ease the way for sales of semi-automatic firearms of up to .50 caliber to 36 countries deemed “trusted parties,” said officials briefed on the matter. These include North Atlantic Treaty Organization members such as the U.K. and Turkey, as well as non-NATO allies in Latin America and Asia . . .

Under the proposed rules, close-assault weapons, sniper rifles, combat shotguns and ammunition would be moved from the “strict controls” of the Munitions List to a “lesser controlled” Commerce list, according to a Homeland Security memo.

On the Commerce list, certain firearms could be exported, and re-exported, among 36 eligible countries, in some cases without advance U.S. approval, according to documents and congressional officials briefed on the proposals. Critics say the weapons would have less stringent disclosure and tracking rules, along with broad exceptions from license requirements.

As the old expression goes, money talk, bullshit walks. Fun fact 1: The Freedom Group makes semis. Fun fact 2: this pro-firearms export policy shift comes about just after the Group’s Remington brand won a contract to supply the U.S. Army with 24,000 M4A1 carbines. Even at the New York Times (November 2011), one plus one equals two.

So, to keep growing, the Freedom Group has expanded its sales staff in the United States and increased its business internationally. It has sold weapons to the governments of Afghanistan, Thailand, Mexico and Malaysia, among others, and obtained new business from the United States Army, including a contract worth up to $28.2 million, to upgrade the M24 sniper weapon system.

Cerberus brings some connections to the table. The longtime chairman of its global investments group is Dan Quayle, the former vice president. The Freedom Group, meantime, has added two retired generals to its board. One is George A. Joulwan, who retired from the Army after serving as Supreme Allied Commander of Europe. The other is Michael W. Hagee, formerly commandant of the Marine Corps.

Just ask anyone who makes a living inside the beltway. Some investments are more important than others. Know what I mean? Is this “stack ’em and high and sell ’em abroad” a good thing for the average American gun owner? I’m thinking yes; it helps our economy and keeps product innovation flowing. You?

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  1. The potential ulterior motives for this policy change is only limited to one’s imagination. Does anybody really think the current Administration cares very much about business in general, exports in particular or US firearms manufacturers at all?

  2. No it took me months to find the colt I wanted. Everything is out of stock and people are price gouging. It’s like black Friday for guns everyday until election day

  3. So a Cook County, Illinois politician gained the White House, signed a law allowing carry in national parks, and now is expanding export possibilities for firearms? Other foot………

  4. So Obama decreases regulations on guns and Romney meets with Bloomberg…

    I quit.

    • I’ll quit when Obama relaxes import restrictions as well (hint: never gonna’ happen).

      • Yup. Obama views gun exports as a good thing – it’s getting those “evil guns” out of the country. Importing guns, even ones made in the US; paid for with US tax dollars; and used by US soldiers, that’s a no-no.

  5. It strikes me that this isn’t a move to support the firearms industry as much as it is a move to give our enemies the opportunity to buy top of the line military hardware that they can’t given the current interpretation of ITAR.

    In short, he’s trying to aid our enemies.

    Thus, this falls right in line with just about everything he seems to stand for….

    • First of all, you don’t win modern wars with small arms. They’re important, but they’re not make or break.

      Second, ITAR has been a disaster for this country’s international competitiveness in many technology industries.

      Third, you still couldn’t export small arms to countries who are actually our enemies, versus what I am assuming is your paranoid delusion that anyone not our explicit ally is an enemy.

      Fourth, that is the thinnest anti-Obama screed I’ve seen in a while. He finally helps US businesses compete internationally, and you’re suddenly bitching about how?

      • I disagree with your first point; in the absence of suitable small arms no war can be successfully waged. Ergo, they are vital.

        I certainly agree with your second point.

        Your third point misses the forest for the trees; the entire situation with the Mexican drug cartels, and the sources of their small arms are a good example of this.

        As for your final point, I’m not saying its entirely a step in the wrong direction, only that he’s doing it in the wrong way, and for reasons in line with his political ideology. To wit, he isn’t doIng it to help businesses (although it almost certainly will), he’s doing it because he thinks the U.S. is an imperial power and that doing this will help dilute that self-same power.

  6. What I really want to know, is what’s a “Misc.” Firearm? We’ve got Pistols, Revolvers, Rifles, Shotguns, and Misc. as categories. Is that like cannons or something?

    • I think ar15 frames are considered miscellaneous. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong.

  7. Great piece! BO’s minions and supporters (from the big err white house to the media) usually do a good job of keeping his pr image to that of an ideological mostly progressive valued president. The WSJ article and this piece at TTAG really blow the lid off that facade. BO is well aware that once shipped outside the US those guns will be used to kill innocent people as well as the supposed bad guys. How many faces does BO have?

  8. I’m sure that the current administration would be pleased as punch to take every single firearm made in America and ship it overseas.

    Wake me when Barry loosens import regulations, m’kay?

  9. Gee…the USA has a firearms pro export policy and then many of these foreign governments wonder why the guns they confiscate are made in the USA. Then the foreign governments blame the USA for a “river of iron” entering their borders. Then the BATF blames the private gun shops and owners for the ” river of iron”, even though the BATF releases weapons to said foreign countries. Then the USA government conduct criminal investigations on said private owners and gun shops.
    High fives all around for BHO and his pals!

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