A decision by the Trump administration to broaden the export of silencers that suppress the noise of gunfire has been questioned by the chair of a national security panel of the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Committee on Tuesday.
On July 10, the State Department said it was rescinding a policy of refusing to license the export of silencers to private entities. The old guidance allowed the sale only to foreign governments or military. The decision was made because of concerns that U.S. manufacturers were losing potential sales.
The House Oversight Committee’s national security subcommittee is “deeply concerned” by the change and “further disturbed” by reports that a White House official with ties to the American Suppressor Association was behind the decision, wrote Representative Stephen Lynch, chair of the subcommittee, to Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought.
“The overseas sale of U.S. defense articles, especially when those weapons could endanger the safety and security of our men and women in uniform, cannot and should not be influenced by personal financial or political interests,” wrote Lynch.
Lynch asked for information about communication between the American Suppressors Association and Michael Williams, a deputy assistant to the president and a former top lawyer for the group, about the issue. He also asked about contacts between Williams and Donald Trump, Jr. and White House trade advisor Peter Navarro about the matter.
The OMB and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The American Suppressors Association had no immediate comment.