In case you were wondering, rifles that shoot blanks are still rifles and are covered by Category I of the United States Munitions List. So, film producers shooting at foreign locations may need to get from the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls licenses to export these movie props to the foreign location. Apparently, the producers of the Hunger Games, which exported Herstal P90s and F2000s to France and Germany, got tangled up in U.S. export laws and made things unnecessarily difficult for themselves.
According to the Hollywood Reporter:
Due to the U.S. legal restrictions, the guns couldn’t be sent off to Europe and then hop from country to country, causing complications for the multi-national shoot. “We can’t take the firearms and ship them out to France, and then go from France to Germany with them,” says Weschta. “We could do it, but they would have to come back here [to the U.S.] first and then go back out anyway.”
Ultimately, two discrete batches were sent — one to France, and one to Germany. … “The guns from ISS had to go back to the United States because of the temporary export license that was for France only,” [a prop handler for the film] says.
Of course, there is no reason why a temporary export license (DSP-73) can’t cover multiple destinations. The instructions for the DSP-73 application state:
Requests for temporary export of hardware may be submitted for more than one foreign destination. However, when the country(s) of ultimate destination are geographically dispersed, the applicant should submit a separate application for each major geographical region (e.g. Africa, East Asia, Europe, etc.).
Interestingly, the instructions for a DSP-73 application also include a requirement that applications for temporary exports of firearms for use in motion pictures provide “the details of the security arrangements in the foreign country.” Obviously DDTC is apparently used to handling request to export guns to shoot blanks on foreign movie sets.
If the Hunger Games team just obtained a DSP-73 for France, that was their own fault. Perhaps that is what comes from having unpaid interns fill out the license applications.