Miami police try, fail to explain how it’s legal for their department to ship guns to Ukraine
06/26/2022 // JD Heyes // Views

The Miami Police Department is about to get into a heap of trouble with a "gun buyback" program they are running on behalf of the country of Ukraine.

According to a report in The Truth About Guns, the department's buyback program has been advertised specifically as a means of collecting firearms that can then be shipped to Ukraine to help in their war to beat back a Russian invasion. Only, the plan is rife with legal problems.

For one, the department currently does not possess a firearms export license or state permit from the various regimes to export guns to any country, but officials say the department is working on obtaining them.

In the meantime, the “GUNS 4 UKRAINE" buyback, held over the weekend, proceeded, with Miami Police spokeswoman Officer Kenia Fallat telling reporters that the firearms collected at the buyback will summarily be shipped to the Ukraine.

The outlet reported further:

Their plan was fraught with legal entanglements, since shipping firearms to a foreign country without the proper paperwork violates federal law, specifically the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, known as ITAR. The plan also violates state law, specifically, Florida Statute 790.08, which regulates what police can do with firearms or other weapons that come under their control. Shipping guns to a foreign military is not one of the options allowed by the statute.

During her interview, Fallat asked for questions to be written down and provided to her, which she answered and distributed ahead of the buyback.


Does Miami PD have a firearm export license?

NO. However, at the June 9, 2021 Commission Meeting, the City of Miami adopted Resolution R-22-0219 directing the City Manager to “take any and all action to work with federal authorities to ship any functional weapon received through the City’s Gun Buyback program to Ukraine for use in the conflict against the Russian invasion.” The directive to take “any and all action to work with federal authorities” may include, but is not limited to, the procurement of an export license in accordance to the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) including conformity to the requirements of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR); any guidance from the Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls regarding AECA export controls and licensing for articles enumerated on the U.S. Munitions List; any relevant portions of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR); and/or compliance with the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security export controls for items listed in the Commerce Control List (including firearms) pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and Part 774 of the Export Administration Regulations; and/or compliance with the National Firearms Act including any application to obtain a permit for permanent exportation of firearms; any necessary clearances from ATF prior to export; or compliance with any one-time licensing exception the City may be eligible to obtain as provided in the provisions of ITAR. The actual avenue for the City to lawfully export anything is speculative at this time because the City cannot predict the amount or types of firearms that will be donated at buyback event.

Are you aware shipping guns to a foreign country without an export license violates ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations)?

If by ‘you’ you mean the City of Miami, YES. See above. The resolution adopted by the City Commission anticipates that the City must ‘work with federal authorities’ to lawfully attempt to comply with the directive and deliver the firearms to the brave men and women fighting for their liberty against their oppressors.

Are you aware shipping guns to a foreign country violates FL Statute 790.08?

“If by ‘you’ you mean the City of Miami, it is the City’s position that section 790.08 of the Florida Statutes does not regulate the international exportation of firearms.”

What's the takeaway here? TTAG says it's clear that the city did not think through this plan ahead of time.

Sources include:

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