Bruce Charles Schwindler (sp?), works with the Department of State, and is the Director of Treaty Control (or something close to that). The US President has the right to regulate the exportation of certain items. The Department of State enforces the Arms Export Control Act.
Mr. Schwindler (sp?) testified at length about his long history in the military and various government agencies. He is an expert on proper licensing of firearms exportation to other countries, including “Mejico”. His department issues over 18,000 applications to export annually. 95% of the applications submitted to export weapons are granted, including exports to “Mejico”. He personally last year approved some 8,000 of those applications last year.
The defense objected, pointing out this expert’s testimony is irrelevant because none of the Reese’s were charged with violating any export laws (as in failing to apply for an export license), when in fact they are being charged with a completely different crime, violating 18 U.S.C. § 554. The judge overruled, and the expert continued with his testimony.
The expert slowly testified at length about different categories of weapons and ammunition that are regulated and require first an application to export, and then if granted, another set of paperwork to actually export. He stated the majority of application to export weapons are received from manufacturers, and the rest from individuals who are leaving the country, to countries such as Canada. He stated less than .5% of applications to export are from individuals who are leaving the country, or shipping to a relative, and those are granted a one-time exception.
He stated some 500-600 weapons per year are exported to “Mejico” to licensed end-users in “Mejico”.
He explained in “Mejico”, Mexican citizens have to obtain proper authorization from the government to only weapons. When he was asked what percentage of individuals legally own weapons in “Mejico” he responded, “None”. The defense objected stating again it is irrelevant to this case. The judge allowed the questioning to continue, and the expert stated individuals in “Mejico” must get permission from the Military.
He was contacted to conduct a search of government records to determine if the Reeses, or New Deal, or Old Ironsides LLC, had applied to export anything. They had not. There was a similar name, but he believes it is not related to the defendants.
The expert testified at length how he has infiltrated the highest levels of the cartel in an undercover capacity, and has eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner with them.
He testified that all of the weapons involved in this case (AR-15, AK47 types and 50 caliber, and the related ammunition) all need export licenses.
Under cross examination by Attorney Gorence, the following points were learned from the government’s expert witness:
The duty to get a license to export belongs to the actual exporter, he stated that is correct. He also testified that the exporter also has to list where the item was obtained from, as well as the end user (in Mexico) would also be listed.
A 50 caliber weapon can be sold legally in the US with a legal 4473.
A step-by-step example of when an application to export has to be obtained and by whom was given.
A US weapons manufacturer of a gun sells to a retail store located in the US. There is no duty to obtain an export license.
The retail store owner sells a gun, after obtaining approval from the FBI on form 4473, to a person legally authorized to purchase a weapon in the US. There is no duty to obtain an export license, as the store owner is not exporting the weapon.
The gun owner decides to transport the weapon across the border to another country, with or without the retail owner’s knowledge. There is no duty for the retail store owner to obtain an export license.
The gun owner at the time of export is the one who obtains the export license, and on the form only has to list the source of the weapons (whether direct from the manufacturer or from a retail gun shop), but there is still no duty of the gun shop owner to additionally obtain an export license.
When asked if it is possible for the public to get information about those who export weapons from the database maintained at his office. The expert stated the caller would have to know who is actually the exporter of record, and other information, just as the consignee or source.
[In other words, it would have been difficult for the Reese's to even try to call up the State Department in order to determine if any of the guns they have sold to anyone over nearly 2 decades have been exported.]
Note: The government’s expert witness wound up proving that the Reeses did not need to apply for any export license, and those of us in the peanut gallery wondered why the government even brought him in as a prosecution witness. What was the point? Everyone knows that criminals do not follow laws, whether they are US laws or laws in other countries. Everyone knows that it is the law-abiding citizens who follow laws. Everyone that hasn’t been under a rock for the past umpteen years knows the Mexican cartel has been killing hundreds or thousands of people in Mexico with weapons they are not allowed to own in their country.
What did not come out in trial was whether or not the US Government, via BATFE (“ATF”) applied for any licenses to export any of the weapons they exported via Mexican cartel members in the Fast & Furious scandal. Did the ATF request the cartel members get license applications to export? Or did the ATF fill out the appolications to export? Or did ATF break the export laws also. If the later, when are the agents involved going to get charged with violating the export laws?