WASHINGTON – Senators Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Charles Grassley (R-IA), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry requesting details about the State Department’s proposed changes to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The proposed regulations, as written, may require law-abiding citizens to procure “proper authorization” from the government before publicly speaking about firearms and other materials.
Chairman Johnson said, “Under the State Department’s proposed changes to ITAR, millions of law-abiding citizens could potentially face fines and criminal penalties for merely exercising their basic First and Second Amendment rights. While the State Department must work to combat international arms trafficking, I am concerned that these proposed regulations go too far and directly conflict with constitutional principles.”
“The State Department’s proposal to potentially expand the scope of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations well beyond what Congress initially intended jeopardizes not one, but two provisions in the Bill of Rights. While it is important to ensure that sensitive information about high-powered military equipment does not fall in the wrong hands, the State Department’s broadly-written proposal has caused great uncertainty and concern for the protection of Americans’ First Amendment and Second Amendment rights,” Grassley said.
A copy of the letter can be found here.