(Luis Cornelio, Headline USA) The House Oversight Committee has threatened to issue subpoenas due to the Biden administration’s refusal to disclose information related to its contentious decision to pause the issuance of new export licenses for firearms, firearm components and immunity for 90 days.
In a letter to Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., called out the agency for its failure to respond to a Nov. 28, 2023, letter requesting information about what Comer described as the targeting of the “firearm industry.”
The Biden Administration is targeting lawful gun-owning Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights.
Commerce is now more than five weeks delinquent in satisfying my requests for information.
I will use the compulsory process.
— Rep. James Comer (@RepJamesComer) January 20, 2024
Initially, Comer issued pointed questions about the Commerce-housed Bureau of Industry and Security’s move to block new licenses as it investigated alleged ways to mitigate that such new firearms would not be used to promote global instability, perpetrate human rights violations or engage in other criminal activities.
“The deadline for Commerce to produce the requested information was December 12, 2023. Commerce is now more than five weeks delinquent in satisfying those requests,” wrote Comer, highlighting the letter that followed the Commerce Department’s decision to ban new permits.
“Despite attempts by Committee staff to obtain status updates on Commerce’s efforts to identify and produce the requested documents, Commerce has failed to provide any substantive status updates or a timeline of their activities working toward production,” he added.
The decision to halt the export licenses affected mostly civilian firearms and ammunition, excluding Ukraine and Israel.
In an Oct. 27, 2023, press release, the Commerce Department claimed the move was needed to “further assess current firearm export control review policies to determine whether any changes are warranted to advance U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.”
It added, “The review will be conducted with urgency and will enable the Department to more effectively assess and mitigate risk of firearms being diverted to entities or activities that promote regional instability, violate human rights, or fuel criminal activities.”
Strikingly, the Commerce Department did not specify specific examples of wrongdoing or conflicts for the reasoning behind the blockage of new licenses.
When pressed for information, Commerce failed to meet the deadline on a letter from the House Oversight.
“If Commerce continues to fail to produce the requested documents by January 26, 2024, we will consider other measures, including the use of compulsory process, to gain compliance and obtain this material,” Comer said.