Cherfilus-McCormick Introduces Anti-Gunrunning ARMAS Act

Cherfilus-McCormick Introduces Anti-Gunrunning ARMAS Act

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
December 6, 2023

Black market arms trafficking is a lucrative business, especially in Latin America, which has seen a spike in homicides thanks to the illegal sale of guns, many of which originated in the United States. Representative Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL) has introduced a bill to reorganize American gun exports to prevent further smuggling.

For additional context, the Trump Administration in 2020 transferred responsibility for exporting small arms from the State Department to the Department of Commerce. Roll Call described how this had made tracking gun purchases by international buyers more difficult, especially when exports are going to countries such as Mexico, Brazil, and other countries plagued by violent crime.

As a result, Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick's Americas Regional Monitoring of Arms Sales (ARMAS) Act would transfer gun exportation back to the State Department to ensure future international sales are subject to more stringent oversight.

In addition, the ARMAS Act would require the State Department to mobilize resources toward disrupting the illegal trafficking of guns and the creation of a certification system for international buyers. Other provisions include Congressional oversight of small arms sales and a yearly report from the State Department on strategies to counteract arms trafficking.

In her press release, Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick said that illegally purchased American guns are contributing to the ongoing instability in Haiti, which has required intervention from the United Nations through Kenya.

"Weapons trafficking by way of the United States is a major contributor to Haiti’s growing gang crisis and the current instability that plagues the country. The implementation of stronger transparency, accountability, and oversight mechanisms for U.S. arms exports would address this regional issue and stop guns from getting into the hands of dangerous criminals," said Cherfilus-McCormick.

In July, the government of Mexico demanded the United States pursue a $10 billion lawsuit against domestic gun manufacturers for the smuggling of weapons into Mexico by the drug cartels. Such a suit was demanded because the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which prevents gun manufacturers from being sued for misuse of their products, only worked in the United States, therefore the Mexican government could sue.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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