Suppressors are currently under the jurisdiction of the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC). That means suppressors may not be sold to individuals overseas, only to approved governments. Suppressors are not extraordinary high technology. Sophisticated suppressors are not secrets. They can be produced by any concern with modern machinery.
The current restrictions were put in place by a memorandum from the Department of State in 2002, a few months after the attack on 9/11. While U.S. manufacturers are forbidden to sell to individuals overseas, foreign manufacturers are not. A bill was introduced in the House of representatives in 2016 to rectify this situation. It is called the Suppressor Export Act.
Josh Waldron of SilencerCo explained some of the details of the current situation.
Do you think the Suppressor Export Act will go through in the first year?
"The interesting thing about the Suppressor Export Act is that we have the ability to change that in several ways. I was appointed to President Trump's Second Amendment Coalition. Once the new administration is settled, If I can use my relationships to convince the State Department to get rid of the policy memo that forbid the export of suppressors, we do not need legislation.
There never was a regulation change, there never was a comment period, there was never legislation, that made it that we could not export suppressors. There was a guy who sent out a memo saying "we are no longer going to approve of the export of suppressors."
We are working it from all angles. Moving into Commerce takes it out of DDTC. That would be extremely helpful. There is a three pronged approach, legislation, export reform, a relationship to convince the administration to tear up the memo."
One man in the Department of State stopped all commercial exports of suppressors with one memo.
The memo explains why I did not notice any American "sound moderators" in a recent article about .22 sound moderators in an English shooting publication.
President Trump has often talked about unfair trade deals. This sounds like a self imposed trade limit that could be reversed rather easily. It appears to be a problem that could be solved by another memo from the State Department.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.