FIRST ON FOX: The House Small Business Committee chairman and four of his GOP colleagues sent a letter to the Biden Department of Commerce demanding answers on the 90-day pause on issuing gun export licenses.
Chairman Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, led the letter to Commerce Undersecretary for Industry and Security Alan Estevez regarding the department’s pause on issuing gun export licenses.
“The Biden Administration is continuing its relentless attack on small businesses with yet another decision that will only make our entrepreneurs’ lives more difficult,” Williams told Fox News Digital.
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“Moreover, this decision could very well be in violation of our Second Amendment – which I will not stand for,” Williams said.
“I am eager to hear from the (Bureau of Industry and Security) on this issue and hope to have a detailed response with their justification.”
In the letter, the lawmakers warned that the 90-day “prohibition places a substantial burden on those businesses and individuals that rely on exporting as a source of income and for manufacturers of weapons and ammunition.”
“It appears that the Department of Commerce and [the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)] may not have properly considered the impact of this decision on American businesses, especially smaller entities, nor sufficiently rationalized its decision to comply with the Constitution and its principles,” the lawmakers wrote.
“The Committee is unsure of how to properly characterize the document the BIS made its announcement with, as it is listed as a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) document. A FAQ document hardly seems like the proper venue for announcing a restriction that touches and concerns a fundamental right enumerated in the Bill of Rights.
“Further, this announcement does not adequately explain the basis for why such a prohibition is necessary.”
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The lawmakers pointed out that the “FAQ document’s only rationale for this action is that it ‘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.’”
The Republicans also wrote that while “these reasons could potentially be sufficient if fully explained, BIS has not articulated why these things are of concern, to what extent an issue exists, nor does the BIS tie this action, either directly or indirectly, to any ongoing foreign policy issues.”
“Additionally, in this order the BIS did not prohibit licensure for the export of Torture Devices. … If the BIS’s order is based on the fear of human rights abuses, this seems a more obvious place to start,” the lawmakers wrote.
The lawmakers wrote that BIS’s actions “are not rooted in a delegation from Congress” as in legal precedence, and that “the document contains far too little information to support a claim of unilateral executive authority.”
“What’s more, this FAQ document borders on carrying the force of law, meaning it may require an actual rulemaking to effectuate lawfully under the Administrative Procedure Act,” the lawmakers noted. They referenced a D.C. Circuit Court’s ruling that found “that a guidance document issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which outlined when and how it would accept applications for plans to conduct certain types of waste disposal, carried the force of law, and required a rulemaking.”
“Rulemakings which have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities are required to comply with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, and explain the rules impact on small entities,” the lawmakers wrote.
“Additionally, this ‘pause’ serves as an outright ban on new, potentially small exporters entering the market,” the lawmakers warned. “Additionally, the FAQ document lacks important details and is difficult to find on the BIS’s or Department of Commerce’s website.
“It is unclear how the BIS anticipates businesses, especially smaller businesses, would even understand that this moratorium has been put in place, let alone understand how to comply.”
The lawmakers peppered Estevez with questions regarding the pause, including one seeking an “explanation of the constitutional basis and rationale used by the BIS to determine it had the authority to establish this prohibition.”
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Joining Williams on the letter are fellow GOP committee Reps. Tracey Mann of Kansas, Mark Alford of Missouri, Eli Crane of Arizona and Aaron Bean of Florida.
The Department of Commerce did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.