Lee Fires Back at Biden Gun Export Restrictions with New Bill

December 18, 2023


WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), joined by Sens. John Thune (R-SD), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Braun (R-IN), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Rick Scott (R-FL), introduced the Protect American Gun Exporter Act. This bill comes in response to the Bureau of Industry and Security’s (BIS) recent 90-day pause on the issuance of new export licenses for firearms, ammunition, and component parts to non-governmental end users in most foreign countries. 


On October 27, 2023, without prior consultation with industry stakeholders, the BIS enacted a sweeping and unprecedented pause on export licenses—a move that Senator Lee and co-sponsors argue was unnecessary and legally questionable. This legislative action underscores the urgency to address the repercussions of the BIS’s decision, which could potentially cost the industry upwards of $90 million. The extensive economic impact threatens not only the financial stability of gun manufacturers but also the jobs of countless Americans reliant on this sector.


The arbitrary halt of firearm export licenses by the Biden administration lacks both justification and necessity,said Sen. Lee. "The Protect American Gun Exporter Act guards our manufacturers against capricious policy shifts that unfairly target livelihoods simply because of industry affiliation.


Restricting the lawful export of firearms and related components is just another tactic to hamstring the American firearms industry,” said Sen. Thune. “I’m proud to support this legislation that would protect U.S. jobs and weaken illicit arms dealers.” 


This administration has proved it will stop at nothing to erode the rights of people in Wyoming to keep and bear arms,”  said Sen. Lummis.This arbitrary pause is the latest example of the Biden administration’s gun-grabbing policies that seek to undermine the people of Wyoming’s constitutional rights and attack gun manufacturers. As a proud defender of our Second Amendment, I am partnering with Senator Lee to protect law-abiding citizens’ right to bear arms from this administration’s egregious and unfounded overreach.”


The Biden administration continues its assault on the Second Amendment and prefers to put politics above the Constitution,said Sen. Scott. "That’s unacceptable, and we’re here to send a message that this will not stand. I am proud to join my colleagues in sticking up for the gun manufacturers unfairly targeted by this unprecedented and unfounded action by the Biden Commerce Department. The Protect American Gun Exporter Act is commonsense legislation and should be enacted today.” 


Congress shouldn’t need a bill to ensure federal agencies do their job, yet here we are,” said Rep. Mark Green. “My Protect American Gun Exporters Act requires the Department of Commerce to do the job laid out for it by Congress, bolstering the American business community, instead of anti-gun power grabs. Law-abiding citizens should be allowed to protect themselves, and law-abiding business owners should be allowed to sell to them. I appreciate Senator Lee’s leadership and support for this in the Senate.


This unprecedented ‘pause’ on commercial firearm exports is yet another example of the Biden Administration’s attempts to make firearms commerce more difficult, and shows their disdain for the right to self-defense,” said Randy Kozuch, Executive Director of NRA-ILA. “On behalf of our millions of members, the NRA thanks Senator Lee on his efforts to curtail this bureaucratic overreach.”

"This move by the Biden White House is just the latest instance of their weaponization of the federal government against the gun industry,said Gun Owners of America. "It's always a pleasure to collaborate with Senator Lee and his team, and we’re grateful for this bill to mitigate the impact Biden’s rogue bureaucrats have had on firearm manufacturers.”


Sen. Lee’s bill seeks to:


  • Prohibit the Secretary of Commerce from imposing blanket pauses on new export licenses for businesses selling firearms, ammunition, and components to non-governmental end users abroad.

  • Prevent the Secretary from unilaterally implementing policy changes following the Commerce Department’s proposed “assessment” of current export controls on these products.


Endorsing Organizations: Heritage Action, NRA-ILA, Gun Owners of America, the National Shooting Sports Foundation.  


Senator Lee believes that arbitrary administrative actions should not compromise the rights and livelihoods of Americans. The Protect American Gun Exporter Act is a move to protect American jobs, support legal business operations, and uphold the principles of due process and economic liberty.


For bill text, click HERE.

For a one-pager, click HERE.