WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is crafting a proposal that could make it easier to export firearms and other weapons to certain countries in an effort to boost sales for U.S. companies, increase trade and improve national security, according to senior government officials.

The plan, which is part of President Barack Obama’s overhaul of U.S. export rules, is being debated by several agencies and it could be months before a final rule is proposed, according to officials.

At least two federal agencies – the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department – have expressed concerns that the changes in the export rules could make it easier for drug cartels and terrorists to obtain weapons and make it harder to stop firearms trafficking.

Homeland Security raised its objections in an internal memo, saying that the proposed changes could hurt the ability of its agents “to prevent or deter the illegal export/transfer of lethal items such as advanced firearms to criminal groups, terrorist organizations or enemy combatants.”

But a senior official described the president’s Export Control Reform Initiative as “a work in progress” and said the concerns raised by Homeland Security and law enforcement agencies were being addressed.