In a move that should hopefully boost the suppressor industry, the American Suppressor Association has just announced that the State Department has rescinded a nearly 20-year-old memo that prevented the commercial exportation of suppressors outside of the United States. More distributors, dealers and customers around the world should increase demand and production here in the U.S., funneling more resources into research and design, giving domestic customers better options. Commercial suppressor exports will also allow for comparisons between manufacturers outside of the United States – unfortunately, U.S. regulations still prevent the commercial importation of foreign silencers and other firearms regulated by the National Firearms Act.
Additional details can be found below.
The American Suppressor Association (ASA) is thrilled to announce that the Trump Administration has officially legalized the commercial exportation of firearm suppressors, effective immediately. The State Department’s rescission of the misguided and ill-informed April 18, 2002 internal memorandum that unilaterally prohibited the commercial exportation of suppressors is the culmination of six years of work by the American Suppressor Association. The ability to compete in existing foreign markets will generate millions of dollars in annual revenue for small businesses across the country, increasing US exports and creating hundreds of American jobs in the process.
On Friday, July 10th, the State Department rescinded their previous policy in the following statement:
DDTC Web Notice Regarding an Update to its Suppressor Policy
Effective immediately, the Department of State has rescinded its April 18, 2002, firearms sound suppressor policy. This policy provided for enhanced guidelines for the approval and issuance of export licenses for sound suppressors and restricted their export to only official end users such as government or military entities. Henceforth, DDTC will handle suppressor exports in a manner consistent with other USML-controlled technologies. This requires that applicants must identify a specific end user. Applications for the permanent export of hardware must include purchase documentation, a DSP-83 non-transfer and end use certificate (as suppressors are considered Significant Military Equipment under the USML), an end-user statement, and an import permit (if required by the destination country). Consistent with current licensing practices, all licenses will be reviewed and adjudicated on a case-by-case basis, and any pre- license checks or post shipment verifications will be conducted as deemed necessary and appropriate based on the totality of the circumstances of the transaction. Standard staffing protocols within the Department and interagency will be applied as required.
“For six years, the American Suppressor Association has worked to legalize the commercial exportation of suppressors,” said Knox Williams, President and Executive Director of ASA. “We submitted FOIA requests, helped draft and introduce the Suppressor Export Act of 2016, and educated members of the State Department and White House about the realities of suppressor technology. We applaud the Trump Administration for taking charge and allowing American businesses to compete in thriving markets abroad. This change in policy will create hundreds of jobs at a time when our country needs them most.”
The previous prohibition on the exportation of suppressors was based on the common misconception that suppressors, also known as silencers, are capable of eliminating the noise of a gunshot. Simply put, they cannot. On average, suppressors reduce the noise of a gunshot by 20 – 35 decibels (dB), roughly the same sound reduction as earplugs or earmuffs.
According to the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA), “although firearm suppressors do not completely eliminate the risk of [noise-induced hearing loss] from firearm noise, the risk can be significantly reduced…Therefore, NHCA supports the use of firearm noise suppressors as a form of an engineering noise control to reduce hazardous firearm noise exposures.”
ABOUT THE AMERICAN SUPPRESSOR ASSOCIATION
The American Suppressor Association (ASA) is the unified voice of the suppressor community. We exist for one reason and one reason only: to fight for pro-suppressor reform nationwide. The ability of the American Suppressor Association to fight for pro-suppressor reform is tied directly to our ability to fundraise. Since the ASA’s formation in 2011, 3 states have legalized suppressor ownership and 18 states have legalized suppressor hunting. Much of this would not have happened without your support. For more information on how you can join us in the fight to help protect and expand your right to own and use suppressors, visit www.AmericanSuppressorAssociation.com.