The National Rifle Association is fully funding and supporting a lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s demand that Federal Firearms License holders report multiple sales of long guns in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. The lawsuits filed assert that the ATF lacks statutory authority to demand these reports.
NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action Executive Director Chris W. Cox has long expressed skepticism for the motivation and the timing of this ATF effort. “This is a bait-and-switch scheme by an administration and a bureau frantically trying to distract lawmakers and the general public from the deadly ‘Fast and Furious’ debacle. This is a serious problem with deadly consequences, yet the Obama administration wants you to believe it can deter $40 billion transnational criminal enterprises by imposing paperwork requirements on honest American firearms dealers. This scheme will unjustly burden law-abiding retailers in these four border states. It will not affect drug cartels and it won’t prevent violence along our borders. It will only divert scarce law enforcement resources from legitimate criminal investigations and squander them on policing law-abiding retailers.”
In a time when every federal agency is under intense budget pressure, the ATF estimates that this new reporting requirement will force it to review more than 18,000 additional documents annually. That’s in addition to dealers’ real-time reports of suspicious transactions-which the ATF, in the “Fast and Furious” operation, handled by telling dealers to proceed with the sales.
FFLs in these four border states began receiving tersely worded demand letters from the ATF that read:
You must submit to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reports of multiple sales or other dispositions whenever, at one time or during any five consecutive business days, you sell or otherwise dispose of two or more semi-automatic rifles capable of accepting a detachable magazine and with a caliber greater that .22 (including .223/5.56 caliber) to an unlicensed person. You are required to report all such sales that occur on or after August 14, 2011. You must continue reporting multiple sales for the rifles subject to this demand letter until we provide written notice to stop.
The NRA filed separate complaints in the District of Columbia, New Mexico and Texas challenging the administration’s demands.