Tester intervenes in Stevensville ammo company’s export application

Ravalli Republic

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has intervened to push the State Department to approve a Stevensville ammunition company's 16-month-old request to sell its wares overseas.

On Nov. 2, 2009, HS Munitions applied for an export license to complete an $821,500 order from the nation of Georgia's Ministry of Defense.

It has received no response to the application – despite the passage of 16 months, and a series of phone calls and e-mails from Tester's office in January.

Now Tester is demanding action by the State Department.

"I am a staunch advocate for caution and due diligence when it pertains to foreign sales of a military nature, and I fully support the meticulous efforts that members of the State Department employ when dealing with issues of this matter," Tester wrote in a letter Friday to Ellen Tauscher, undersecretary for arms control and international security.

"However, the good people of HS Munitions have patiently awaited the outcome of this application for well over a year, with no resolution," the senator said. "It is my hope that the department can consider this case fully and promptly."

HS Munitions and its sister company, The Hunting Shack Inc., are a co-located ammunition manufacturer employing 38 people in Stevensville.

"This order represents a significant contribution to such a small Montana business," Tester wrote. "And the absence of a decision on the matter makes it exceedingly difficult for this small company to consider other orders with its limited resources and budget."