Don Bauder 7:49 p.m., May 22
Judge Upholds Gun Sales Reporting Law Over NRA Protest
The Obama administration and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are celebrating a victory in their battle to deter gun trafficking across the nation’s southern border.
Last week, federal judge Rosemary Collyer upheld an order given last year by the ATF to over 8000 gun dealers in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas that requires border state sellers to report the sale of two or more semi-automatic rifles to a single individual within a five-day period. Two gun dealers, backed by the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, were unsuccessful in their challenge to the order.
The order was issued amid controversy over the ATF's botched "Fast and Furious" operation. Fast and Furious was intended as an investigation to allow some guns into the hands of suspected criminals, with the intent of tracking them to Mexican crime syndicates. Instead, over 2000 guns ended up missing. House representative Darrell Issa of California’s 49th District, covering much of San Diego’s North County, has been particularly critical of the investigation, which resulted in two of the tracked guns being used in the murder of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in Arizona.
In Sight Crime, a research group concerning itself with organized crime in Latin America and the Caribbean, applauds the decision, saying it “will allow the ATF to better police the U.S. weapons stores that indirectly supply Mexico's cartels with many of their firearms. It will also permit the Obama administration to tell the Mexican government that it is doing something to slow the flow of these weapons.”
Their support is not shared by all concerned. A release from the National Rifle Association denounces the ruling as an “illegal policy.”
The NRA puts the number of gun dealers affected by the order at 8700 and notes that this is “about 20 times more dealers than had been subject to any similar ‘demand letter’ before.” The release also warns that the ATF may seek to require further reporting on multiple-weapons purchases by a single individual, and promises to appeal the ruling.