By: Johanna Reeves, Esq.,; Reeves & Dola LLP.

On November 12, 2019, the U.S. Department of State notified Congress of its intention to transfer jurisdictional control of certain firearms and ammunition over to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The notification is required under Section 38(f)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2778(f)(1)), which states that the President may not remove any item from the Munitions List until 30 days after the date on which the President has provided notice of the proposed removal. The Notification was published in the  November 13, 2019 Congressional Record (Senate).

The thirty-day clock was due to run December 11, 2019, which means the final rules could have been published some time before the end of the year or early January. But Senator Menendez, the Ranking Member in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has once again issued a hold to block the transition from going to final. Many will recall earlier this year when Senator Menendez placed a hold against the proposed Munitions List revisions when the State Department sent its first 38(f) notification in February. The Senator’s hold, although not legally binding, nevertheless resulted in stopping the revisions from going to final back then. The question now is whether we will again experience an indefinite pause on seeing the transition rules published and implemented. …

Excerpts from Senator Menendez’s press release are available HERE. The letter Senator Menendez sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is available HERE.