On May 24, 2018, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published in the Federal Register a proposed rule [Docket No. 111227796-5786-01] that describes how articles the President determines no longer warrant control under United States Munitions List (USML) Category I – Firearms, Close Assault Weapons and Combat Shotguns; Category II – Guns and Armament; and Category III – Ammunition/Ordnance would be controlled under the Commerce Control List (CCL). This proposed rule is being published simultaneously with a proposed rule by the Department of State that would revise Categories I, II, and III of the USML to describe more precisely the articles warranting continued control on that list.

The changes described in the BIS proposed rule and in the State Department’s companion proposed rule (see below) on Categories I, II, and III of the USML are based on a review of those categories by the Department of Defense, which worked with the State and Commerce in preparing the amendments. The review was focused on identifying the types of articles that are now controlled on the USML that are either (i) inherently military and otherwise warrant control on the USML or (ii) if of a type common to non-military firearms applications, possess parameters or characteristics that provide a critical military or intelligence advantage to the United States, and are almost exclusively available from the United States. If an article satisfies one or both of those criteria, the article remains on the USML. If an article does not satisfy either criterion, it has been identified in the new Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCNs) included in this proposed rule. Thus, the scope of the items described in this proposed rule is essentially commercial items widely available in retail outlets and less sensitive military items.

BIS has created ECCNs, referred to as the “600 series,” to control items that would be removed from the USML and controlled under the CCL, or items from the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual Use Goods and Technologies Munitions List (Wassenaar Arrangement Munitions List or WAML) that are already controlled elsewhere on the CCL.

Also, on May 24, 2018, the Department of State (State) published in the Federal Register a companion proposed rule [Public Notice 10094] to amend the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to revise Categories I (firearms, close assault weapons and combat shotguns), II (guns and armament) and III (ammunition and ordnance) of the U.S. Munitions List (USML) to describe more precisely the articles warranting export and temporary import control on the USML. Items removed from the USML would become subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

State welcomes comments from the public and specifically requests input on the following matters:

(1) A key goal of this rulemaking is to ensure the USML and the CCL together control all the items that meet Wassenaar Arrangement commitments embodied in its Munitions List Categories 1, 2 and 3 (WAML1, WA-ML2 and WA-ML3). Readers are asked to identify any potential gap in coverage brought about by the changes for USML Categories I, II and III contained in this notice and the new Category 0, 0x5zz ECCNs published separately by Commerce when reviewed together.

(2) State seeks to establish clear distinctions between the USML and the CCL for the control of firearms, large guns, armaments, ordnance and ammunition. The public should provide any specific examples of firearms (or parts, components, accessories thereof), large guns, armaments, ordnance or ammunition whose jurisdiction is unclear based on this revision.

(3) State has, in the past, adopted a delayed effective date of 180 days for rules revising entire categories of the USML and moving items to the CCL. State seeks to allow industry sufficient time to implement this rule, including time to make changes to IT systems, technology controls plans, and other business processes. The public should provide input on the time necessary to implement any final rule for these 13 categories, as well as a description of any increased burden that, in the view of the commenter, would be imposed on businesses or individuals should this rule be adopted.

Comments for both proposals must be received by July 9, 2018.