The U.S. State Department announced on Friday it will restrict the importation of certain Russian firearms and ammunition as shortages continue impacting Americans nationwide. The sanctions are expected to take effect on September 7, according to a State Department press release.
The department said the sanctions on Russian firearms and ammunition is due to the Russian Federation’s “use of a ‘Novichok’ nerve agent in the August 2020 poisoning of Russian opposition figure Aleksey Navalny.”
“Restrictions on the permanent imports of certain Russian firearms. New and pending permit applications for the permanent importation of firearms and ammunition manufactured or located in Russia will be subject to a policy of denial,” the department stated.
According to the National Association for Gun Rights, the sanctions will make the popular 7.62×39 rifle round “used by sportsmen, hunters, and Second Amendment enthusiasts alike…impossible to find.” Russian-made brands like Wolf, Bear, Tulammo, Barnaul, and Red Army Standard, which are popular imported ammo options for American gunowners, are likely to be among those impacted by the restrictions.
The sanctions will remain in place for no less than 12 months, the department said, and the restrictions can only be lifted if the Executive Branch “determines and certifies to Congress that Russia has met several conditions” under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW).
The conditions therein include: providing assurances that Russia will not use chemical weapons in violation of international law, the nation is not preparing to use chemical weapons in the future, it will let international inspectors verify the assurances, and it is “making restitution to Mr. Navalny.”
“Today, the Departments of State and the Treasury also designated numerous individuals and entities, including operatives involved in poisoning Mr. Navalny and entities that have developed Russia’s chemical weapons capabilities,” the State Department wrote. “Together with the measures imposed under the CBW Act, these actions send a clear message that there will be accountability for the use of chemical weapons.”
The National Rifle Association (NRA) condemned the move as another attempt by the Biden administration to restrict Americans’ Second Amendment rights, noting that ammunition exports to the United States make up a small percentage of Russia’s GDP, whereas a large part of ammunition supply in America originates in Russia.
“American gun owners were already suffering from a market where demand was exceeding available supply. This new move by the Biden Administration will severely worsen the present supply problems,” the NRA wrote.
The gun-rights advocacy group said the policy “will certainly lead to more ammunition shortages, higher prices, and therefore fewer Americans exercising their fundamental rights.”
“It may also result in the shuttering of American small businesses that rely heavily on the importation of Russian ammunition,” the NRA added. “All of this is of course by design for the Biden Administration.”