Nazak Nikakhtar
Acting Undersecretary Nazak Nikakhtar. Image courtesy Syracuse University College of Law.
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The House of Representatives moved last week to block the Trump Administration from easing its small arms export policy. Right now, exporting small arms like Ruger 10/22 rifles is treated the same as F-35 fighters. The Trump Administration wants to change that.

Or, they say they do.

From Reuters

House votes to block Trump bid to ease small-arms exports

Legislation approved by the U.S. House of Representatives would block President Donald Trump’s plan to overhaul small-arms export policy to make it easier for gun makers to sell weapons like flamethrowers and grenades to foreign buyers.

The administration’s proposal would transfer regulation of some firearms exports to the Commerce Department from the State Department, which critics said would lessen oversight of such sales.

What are the changes the Trump administration is proposing?

As Reuters notes, they want to move oversight over small arms exports from the State Department to the Commerce department. The change would mean a lot of commercially available handguns and long guns would be removed from State’s list of tightly controlled exports.

The change would allow gun makers to sell many of the same guns that are sold to civilians in America overseas, without jumping through the same hoops required of Lockheed-Martin to sell Saudi Arabia state-of-the-art fighter jets.

The move to Commerce would also help America’s gunsmiths. Because of an Obama executive order redefining what constitutes a gun manufacturer, every gunsmith in the US has to pay a $2,250 tax under ITAR regulations. That burden would go away.

Fortunately, this latest House action has a long way to go before it will block implementation of these common-sense reforms.

The measure is several steps from becoming law. Now that the Democratic-controlled House and Republican-led Senate have both passed versions of the NDAA, they must come up with a compromise bill that must pass both chambers and be signed by Trump.

Obviously the export control reform would also help create jobs and increase business for American companies.

Back in May 2017, a bi-partisan group of legislators from both the House and the Senate sent letters to (then) Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross urging these changes to be made.

The final rule effecting the change was published in February. That started a 30-clock ticking that meant the change could have been made in March.


Apparently standing in the way of this is an apparatchik in the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). Sources tell TTAG that acting undersecretary Nazak Nikakhtar has been slow-walking the export control reforms, preventing the change from taking effect.

Why? We hear she’s worried about the imminent dangers of…3D-printed guns. 

Never mind that 3D printed guns (or the plans for creating them) have nothing whatsoever to do with exporting currently available small arms made by American manufacturers. Or that the dissemination of 3D gun files is virtually un-controllable in a world with the Internet — even Facebook has reportedly lifted its ban on distributing 3D gun plans.

This un-necessary delay in implementing the change has given the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives an opportunity to try to block Trump’s effort to allow American companies to compete on a more level playing field.

Interestingly, Nikakhtar’s name hasn’t been forwarded to the Senate to schedule confirmation hearings when a number of others have. It could be that the administration knows she’ll face some uncomfortable questions about delaying the export reform that members on both sides have supported.

Hopefully President Trump or one of his advisors will let acting undersecretary Nikakhtar that the administration wants to see this go forward. Now.


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  1. “Slow walking”, that’s what they do, anything that really matters is “slow walked”, but shit that doesn’t matter is hurriedly pushed through, “oh POTUS said bad things and my feelings are hurt, lets have a resolution to condemn his comments”…

  2. Personally I’m a litle more interested in small arms import reform. That is to say sh*t-can ridiculous rules banning importation bans of cheap surplus parts kits. Or hell, let’s roll back more rules like bans on the importation of whole firearms that would be otherwise legal but don’t meet the ATF’s stupid import ‘points’ system. Case in point the Glock 25 and 28.

    • I was going to argue that the point system is codified in 922 but I can’t find a reference. Is that really an ATF invention?

      • naah, its codified. adding the barrel as a part that can’t be imported was an ATF invention, tho.

        • They need to allow Norinco to import SKS again. Saiga and Tula AKs as well

          Brand new factory SKS for under $150-200 would be pretty sweet.

          Also let the US makers export.

        • Art, wouldn’ importing extremely cheap firearms from overseas cut into American manufacturers business? Isn’t this exactly why President Trump has put tariffs on imported goods, to help American manufacturers retain their employees?

          I love you President Clinton banning the importation of Chinese weapons as a positive move for American gun manufacturers, obviously American gun manufacturers can’t compete against a slave labor in the Chinese factories.

          Of course, if you don’t care about your neighbors’ jobs here in America, go right on into Walmart and continue to buy their cheap Chinese junk manufactured by slave labor.

          After all, a cheap price is the priority, screw that whole patriotism idea.

        • Miner49er, the traditional cheap imports don’t compete with US products. If the market for those old SKSes and such was big enough to matter, two things would have been happening during their import:

          1) They would be selling for more than $75 or whatever crazy cheap price it was

          – then –

          2) American companies would produce clones at a competitive price

          You see examples of both of these in the AK market.

    • Good call on import reform, export reform doesn’t affect me one little bit. But of course we won’t see any import reform. I’m sure the banning of imports is a hidden agenda of U.S. gun manufacturers, and they probably sponsor their own “Phoebus cartel” on the matter and lobby to keep cheap surplus Combloc rifles/carbines from getting onto the US market because they can’t compete against that pricewise.

  3. The Trump administration is an anti gun administration. I know I probably shouldn’t say this but who cares about this? It’s bread crumbs and doesn’t really help the individual american. It will help the large manufacturers and small businesses with the Itar stuff.

    What about the import bans? Arbitrary bump stock regulations? Removal of suppressors from the NFA? Repeal of something that actually effects everyone? I’m sick of it. Am I being dramatic? This just appears to be fudd stuff to me.

    I understand that ITAR is burdensome but I would probably care more if I didn’t feel like it was done with intent of easing infringements rather than business regulations.

    • *I would care more if I knew it was done to remove infringements rather than make it easier for businesses

    • I hesitantly agree with you here. We need to worry about our own rights before we worry about exporting.

    • Maybe not anti-gun, but Trump & co. aren’t Second Amendment champions, that’s for damn sure. The inconvenient truth is that Trump has already taken more anti-gun action than Obama managed in 8 years. (What O. *wanted* to do is a different story.)

      Trump isn’t on our side. He isn’t really on anyone’s side but his own.

      • I would say anti gun. if a person supports more gun control they are anti gun. Trump added to it and multiple times has supported other types. Though I agree with you. I would say anti gun.

        • It might be a distinction without a difference.

          Does he hate the idea of ordinary Americans owning firearms? Probably not. But if he takes actions that infringe on the Second Amendment and hurt gun owners, then he’s anti-gun by that definition without doubt, and maybe we should consider him as such.

  4. The house of representatives needs an overhaul oh we did that back in November and got even more democraps

  5. this is more of the never trumpers dragging their ass to make any progress from the president go dead-slow or stop. we have the united nations dragging their nuts, the united states state department dragging their nuts, the demon-rats screaming bloody murder about anything that trump tries,regardless of how good or bad it is. and the communist /muslims trying to take-over the house and senate. this is getting really stupid . CLEAN-HOUSE, CLEAN THE SENATE. REMOVE THE IDIOT-LIFERS IN OUR GOVERNMENT. PUT THE VOTING AMERICANS BACK IN CHARGE …TERM LIMITS FOR ALL ..NO EXCEPTIONS…

  6. I have said this several times, and I get shouted down each time, but we need to grow some D candidates. As it stands, we are captive and have removed ourselves from the political calculation.

    Both sides know this. R doesn’t need to consider us because . . . where can we go?
    D has no reason to consider us because we will never go to them.

    This dynamic needs to be changed. We need to jettison the socio/economic part of our plank entirely. All it can do is to antagonize a generation of people who may be interested in shooting sports and defence, but don’t want to support the far-right (note, it actually isn’t conservative) economic agenda.

    De-couple from R and Engage D. Until we do that we have severely limited our political power (“we” in this sense is the general body of pro gun-owners rights people, of which, I expect most reading this are).

    • Well, that would be nice, but right now everyone with a -D after their name is about one temper tantrum away from needing to be stood up against a wall and shot.

      The only difference between a “pro-gun” Demokkkommie and an “anti-gun” Demokkkommie is that the former wants to kill you and take your shit and the latter wants the government to kill you and take your shit.

    • Problem is that you won’t find (D)s that support the 2A except in a few swing districts and the (R) is almost always a better option. A better approach is to get involved in the (R) primary process at the state, local and congressional levels and not just voting in the presidential primary.

      • Engaging with Demokkkommies is a quick way to commit societal suicide. As proven by the latest ANTIFA terrorist, “pro-gun” left wing organizations are only “pro-gun” for as long as it takes to kill you and take your shit.

    • Your heart’s in the right place, but I don’t think this is possible. Pro-gun Democrats will get ground up and spit out by the machine — or subsumed by the collective.

      The Democratic party will die before it backs off its authoritarian anti-gun platform. The anti-gun thing is like a religion at this point.

      I think the best we can hope for is to red-pill people into abandoning the party by introducing them to shooting and letting them experience the effects of “progressive” anti-gun policies for themselves.

    • @ Hasaf, “I get shouted down each time, but we need to grow some D candidates”

      Because it is a terrible idea, when fighting cancer you do not introduce more cancer.

      Where have the pro-life D’s gone? They have been systematically silenced by the rabid “group think” .
      Further, for those that do not comply, and dare stray from their ever more rigid leftist dogma, they are eliminated by way of a primary challenge. See Dan Lipiniski, as an example. He and 14 other moderates are being challenged by a Far Left group Roots Action……Independent thought will be punished.

      What we really need for starters, is to eliminate Federal funding for the Left Wing Terror Training Camps, AKA Universities. They have been siphoning off money, at an ever increasing rate, from students and tax payers, and now have BILLIONS OF DOLLARS in “endowment”. That means they are sitting on piles of cash, all the while indoctrinating “children” in leftist, socialist, Communist principles while hiding in plain sight on their extravagant campuses (fiefdoms ?).

      Additionally your (short sighted) dichotomy of either D or R, should rather be the difference between a RHINO vs a Tea Party Conservative. The generation you speak of should be exposed to ideas and principles that will better their lives, as conservative values have. D’s destroy the family structure because it is politically advantageous for them (3 of 4 single mothers vote D). Conservative values unify the family.

      Next time, kindly, vet your ideas better.

      • The “student loan crisis” is all about federal funding for universities.

        The Democrats want to fix it by throwing even more “free” public money at a debt crisis that “free” public money created. The only responsible way to fix it is to wind the whole federal student loan process down and consider it a failed experiment.

        That by itself would achieve most of what you want in terms of cutting the cancerous growth off from its energy source.

    • Nah fam. All leftists… Regardless of how close to center, or how far out in the field they may be, are the enemy. Full. Hard. Stop. Leftists are subhuman scum, that deserve no peace or quarter. There has never been, nor will there ever be a decent leftist.

      The time for engaging with leftist commie sh*tbags has long past. Now is the time for us to utterly destroy them. Now is time for us to make it so distasteful and difficult to push the leftist narrative that they can’t see straight. Now is the time to make examples of them, destroying anything and everything that they champion, value, or wish to accomplish. The left is not to be trusted. They are not to be negotiated with. They are the enemy, and as the enemy, they deserve nothing but the fight that they keep on trying to pick.

  7. I’ve been through Ruger’s website front to back and I can’t find a single flamethrower or grenade. What am I missing here?

  8. What of imports? South Korea wanted to sell back to Americans tons of old M1 Garands, M1 Carbines, 1911 pistols and loads of related gear. The Clinton State Dept first approved an import license but then reversed itself when people complained the rifles would be popular with gangs and American streets would be awash in bloody dead people.

    So, how about it Trumpites? Where’s those banned South Korean evil wooden stocked 8 shot Nazi Whackers?

    • I’m sure that after we deal with the communist insurgency putting up foreign flags over government facilities and firebombing law enforcement agencies, Trump will get right on that. Priorities.

      Here’s an idea… Vote out every Demokkkommie in Congress, then you can complain that nothing gets done. Right now, the administration is busy fighting vermin who want to turn America into Venezuela 2.0

      • Utter nonsense. Trump is doing no such thing. All he’s been doing since Day One is trying to keep his base fired up and get himself re-elected. That’s it.

        Trump is a national embarrassment and no friend to gun owners, no friend to the Second Amendment or much else in the Constitution.

        • Yeah… because he totally didn’t weld the entire Demokkkommie party to their Stalinist / Islamist wing this weekend.

          This may be a difficult concept for you, but the President doesn’t pass laws. Minor changes in regulations that don’t advance his primary policy goals just aren’t a priority.

        • “Trump is a national embarrassment and no friend to gun owners, no friend to the Second Amendment or much else in the Constitution.”


          So you’re telling me the NY Pistol transportation case would have been grated cert. by 2 fresh SCOTUS justices appointed by Hillary?

          Who’s SCOTUS appointments would have been like Kagen and Sotomayor?

          The answer to that would be Hell *no*…

  9. ALL gun laws are infringements and the fees,taxes are illegal taxes on a right. What other right do we tax.

  10. Seems ever more as if while there might be some difference between bureaucrats and sand, as in sand in the gears, the difference becomes ever more difficult to see. That said. who appoints these bureaucrats, why, and how is it that they come to have garnered such power?

    • Nobody “appoints” them. They are career paper pushers who get their positions on seniority and ass kissing.

      • “Nobody “appoints” them.”

        Incorrect. The ingoing administration has quite a few political appointments they can make to head up some bureaucracies.

        The way it usually works is they are doled out as political favors to whoever the incoming admin. wants…

        • An incoming political party candidate may indeed appoint persons to office, but only at the head-of-agency level; AKA ‘political appointees’.

          The persons that actually RUN governmental agencies are generally career bureaucrats; quite often of a left-leaning or democratic-socialist ideology. [I suspect this is because they could not readily survive in a competitive, performance-rewarded job market — I say this based upon twenty-plus years as a professional geologist and engineer, and three years working for the federal government within the Bureau of Land [Mis]management].

          ‘Just sayin’.

      • They don’t get it by ass kissing…. They get it those jobs, because their head game is strong. . .

        Also to reiterate, all leftists are traitorous sh*tbags that should be executed in the public square. IDGAF if I sound like an extremist. They openly call for that to happen to conservative voices…..

        I say it’s well past time to respond in kind.

    • They are either hired or promoted. The more they are promoted, the more political they become to try to keep favor with their chosen political party.

  11. Hell, I just wish they would block the sanctions for exporting small arms into California……

  12. South Korea asked Obama to take back hundreds of M1 rifles and M1 carbines stored in the country during the Korean War. Obama denied entry of these “antique” weapons. I for one would like to have a M1 rifle,
    since I trained with one in the service. The local Legion color guard has Springfield 03’s for ceremony use.
    It was just a way to further gun control for Obama, however, he is gone and it would take nothing more than a approval letter from POTUS to get shipped back and probably distributed by the CMP people.

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