As rumors have swirled that retired Gen. David Petraeus is under consideration to be Secretary of State in the Trump Administration, the most vocal (and serious) criticism has been the obvious – that he knowingly gave classified information to his mistress, lied to the FBI, and was convicted of mishandling classified information.
Some gun rights organizations, however, have an additional concern. They believe Petraeus, who formed a gun control organization with Gabrielle Giffords’ husband Mark Kelly, would be bad for the Second Amendment.
One group, Firearms Policy Coalition, is concerned about Petraeus’ role in International Traffic in Arms Regulations:
The State Department interprets and enforces the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, which “control[s] the export and import of defense-related articles and services on the United States Munitions List (USML).” ITAR’s regulations implement the provisions of the Arms Export Control Act.
In July of this year, the State Department Directorate of Defense Trade Controls issued a guidance requiring gunsmiths to register as “manufacturers” with DDTC and pay a $2,250 annual fee, even if they don’t export anything. As a group of GOP lawmakers stated in their letter of opposition:
“The vast majority of our constituents engaged in gunsmithing make little to no income from their activities and often do it as a hobby or side business. They most certainly do not export firearms. They also do not manufacture firearms in any widely understood sense of the term.”
Back in June 2015 the State Department announced a proposal that claimed “to be ‘clarifying’ the rules concerning ‘technical data’ posted online or otherwise ‘released’ into the ‘public domain.’” Technical data includes blueprints, photographs, plans, et cetera. If the rules were interpreted to mean that posting a plan to create a 3-D gun on a blog constituted exportation of technical data, as some State Department bean counters believe, you’d have to apply for authorization from the government before posting the information on your blog. If you didn’t, the penalty could be up to 20 years in prison or a $1 million fine.
Another group, Gun Owners of America, adds a concern about the incoming Secretary of State’s role in the UN Arms Trade Treaty:
As Secretary of State, Petraeus would play a key role in deciding whether to remove the U.S. from the UN Arms Trade Treaty (UN ATT). This agreement would mandate gun registration, and would authorize comprehensive gun bans.
Gun rights groups were optimistic that a Trump presidency would be good for the Second Amendment and gun rights, and a Petraeus nomination will not sit well with them.