House Committee Passes Amendment To Defund Multi-Rifle Reporting

The NRA-ILA sent this out this afternoon regarding an amendment to the FY2012 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations that was offered by Rep. Denny Rehrberg (R-MT). This amendment would prohibit the use of funds to the new ATF/DOJ multi-rifle sale reporting requirement.

House Committee Passes Amendment to Defund Illegal Obama Firearm Sales Reporting Requirement

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Today, during consideration of the FY 2012 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, pro-gun U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) offered an amendment to prohibit the use of funds for a new and unauthorized multiple sales reporting plan proposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The Amendment was passed by a vote of 25-16.

The Rehberg Amendment, which was strongly supported by NRA, will defund the Justice Department’s controversial and illegal move requiring federally licensed firearms retailers in states bordering Mexico to report multiple sales of semi-automatic rifles.

As we reported yesterday, this procedure was proposed last fall as an “emergency” measure by BATFE. Specifically, it calls for all of the firearm retailers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to report multiple sales, or other dispositions, of two or more .22 caliber or larger semi-automatic rifles capable of accepting a detachable magazine purchased by a single individual in a five consecutive business day period. It is important to note that under existing law, BATFE already has full access to every dealer’s firearm transaction records, either during a bona fide criminal investigation or simply to enforce compliance with record keeping requirements. This new reporting procedure would create a registry of owners of many of today’s most popular rifles–firearms owned by millions of Americans for self-defense, hunting and other lawful purposes. Most importantly, however, the BATFE has no legal authority to demand these reports.

In addition, the agency has recently come under intense scrutiny due to its ill-conceived “Fast and Furious” operation. “Fast and Furious” encouraged Arizona gun stores to sell thousands of guns to suspicious buyers, despite objections from dealers and even BATFE’s own field agents.

Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on and passed, by a vote of 277 to 149, an amendment to H.R. 1 (also offered by Rep. Rehberg, along with Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.)) that also would have prohibited the use of federal funds for this reporting requirement. Unfortunately, the amendment was not included in the final version of the bill as a result of Senate inaction.

In March, U.S. Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) introduced S. 570–“to prohibit the Department of Justice from tracking and cataloguing the purchases of multiple rifles and shotguns.” The bill would ensure that federal funds cannot be used for the multiple sales reporting procedure.

NRA will continue to work to make sure the Rehberg Amendment makes it through the appropriations process. The amendment is scheduled to be heard on the House floor in August.

While the Rehberg Amendment is a critically important first step, it is imperative that you contact your U.S. Senators and ask them to cosponsor and support S. 570. You can find contact information for your elected officials by using the “Write Your Representatives” tool at, or you can call your U.S. senators at (202) 224-3121. S. 570 currently has 29 cosponsors. To see if your senators are cosponsors, please click here:

Chris Cox Versus Dennis Hennigan On CNN

Dennis Henigan, Acting President of the Brady Campaign, and Chris Cox, head of the NRA-ILA, appeared on CNN’s American Morning to discuss and debate the new reporting requirements issued yesterday by the Department of Justice. Kiran Chetry, host of the show, pushed Hennigan on why another law was needed when straw purchases are already illegal. His answer would have you believe that the notification of multiple sales are made in real time and that ATF agents will be at the door to arrest the buyers as they exit the store.

Thirdpower has more on Hennigan’s lies and slanders at Days of our Trailers.

NSSF To Sue Over Multi-Rifle Reporting Requirement

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has announced that they plan to file suit challenging the legal authority of the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives under the Gun Control Act of 1968 to force FFL’s in the four Southwest border states to report multiple sales of certain semi-automatic rifles.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) – the trade association for America’s firearms industry – announced today that it will file a lawsuit challenging the legal authority of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) under the Gun Control Act to compel 8,500 federally licensed firearms retailers in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas to report the sale of two or more semi-automatic rifles larger than .22 caliber and capable of accepting a detachable magazine that are purchased following an FBI background check by the same individual within five consecutive business days.

At the time Congress authorized the reporting of multiple sales of handguns it could have required it for the sale of long guns, but it did not. ATF is clearly exceeding its lawful authority under the Gun Control Act. Current ATF Acting Director Ken Melson himself has previously questioned ATF’s legal authority to impose this new requirement.

“While we encourage all retailers, not just those along the southwest border, to continue to cooperate with ATF and report any suspicious activity, this is the proverbial ’slippery slope,’ “ said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “If ATF can require this record keeping and reporting requirement of law-abiding retailers in these four states simply by sending a letter demanding the information, than there is no record or report ATF can not require of any licensee, anywhere in the country for as long as ATF wants. They simply need to send a letter demanding it,” said Keane.

Operation Fast and Furious confirms what ATF has always maintained, that retailers are a vital source of information for law enforcement in combating illegal firearm trafficking. These retailers routinely report questionable transactions to authorities, including ATF. Throughout the Fast and Furious congressional investigation, it was suggested that federally licensed retailers were the original source of information that gave rise to the operation and retailers allowed ATF special agents to stand behind the counter of their shops so that they were better able to observe the transactions.

Even if ATF had the legal authority to require sales reporting for long guns, it is an ill-considered policy that will actually make it more difficult for retailers to cooperate with ATF. Illegal firearms traffickers will simply alter their schemes to avoid and evade the reporting requirement. For example, traffickers could simply recruit more “straw purchasers” and have them illegally purchase firearms from multiple licensees, or simply move their illegal trafficking activities to other states where the reporting requirement does not exist.

Quote Of The Day

Those defending the new ATF multiple-rifle reporting requirement for the Southwest border states say it will give law enforcement another (needed) tool with which to fight straw purchases and gun smuggling to Mexico.

Mike Vanderboegh at Sipsey Street Irregulars who broke the story on Project Gunwalker with David Codrea has this to say about the need for new “tools”.

Ironic, ain’t it? It is as if the ATF is admitting that it was incompetent (deliberately or otherwise) in the Gunwalker Scandal and was having trouble keeping track of their cartel straw buyers so now they insist that the FFLs who previously tried voluntarily to help them, now must help them.

When the idea was first proposed, many ATF agents on noted they were already drowning in paper and this would just make it even worse. If anything, it would cause information overload and induce decision paralysis.

Of Course He Approves

Of course Elijah Cummings approves of the new requirement. Asshole.

Cummings Applauds New Reporting Measure to Combat Illegal Gun Trafficking

Washington, DC – Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings issued the following statement in response to Department of Justice’s announcement of the new reporting measure for multiple sales of semi-automatic rifles in select states along the border.

“This is exactly what ATF agents on the ground told Congress — that reporting multiple sales of military-grade assault weapons is a crucial tool to identify and disrupt Mexican drug cartels engaged in gun trafficking. I strongly support ATF’s action, and I plan to introduce legislation with Rep. Maloney to establish a dedicated firearms trafficking statute to provide law enforcement with an additional tool to combat gun traffickers. Congress needs to step up to the plate and empower our law enforcement agents with the tools they need to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals, protect communities on both sides of the border, and to ensure that they are not outgunned.”

Cummings issued an investigative report on June 29 that recommended ATF collect reports of multiple long gun sales based on testimony received from both U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials.

Grassley On New Reporting Requirement

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) was the first person in Congress to bring attention to Operation Fast and Furious and continues to push for answers to this day. Along with Darrell Issa and their respective staffs, he probably understands as much about Project Gunwalker as anyone. So when he comments on the new ATF requirement, it is with an in-depth understanding of the issue.

New Reporting Requirements for Federal Firearms Licensees on the Southwest Border

Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, gave the following comment after it was announced by the Justice Department that Federal Firearms Licensees along the Southwest Border would be required to report multiple long gun sales. The Judiciary Committee has primary jurisdiction over policy related to the Justice Department. Grassley is also leading an investigation into the risky strategy employed by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to allow guns to be sold to straw buyers and then watch the guns be transported to third parties without following the guns.

“We’ve learned from our investigation of Fast and Furious that reporting multiple long gun sales would do nothing to stop the flow of firearms to known straw purchasers because many Federal Firearms Dealers are already voluntarily reporting suspicious transactions. In fact, in just the documents we’ve obtained, we are aware of 150 multiple long guns sales associated with the ATF’s Fast and Furious case, and despite the fact that nearly all of these sales were reported in real time by cooperating gun dealers, the ATF watched the guns be transported from known straw purchasers to third parties and then let the guns walk away, often across the border. This makes it pretty clear that the problem isn’t lack of burdensome reporting requirements. The administration’s continued overreach with regulations continues, and is a distraction from its reckless policy to allow guns to walk into Mexico.”

Rep. Lamar Smith On Multi-Rifle Reporting Requirement

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is not pleased with the new Department of Justice/Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives requirement that FFL’s in the Southwest must report multiple sales of certain semi-automatic rifles.

Smith: Administration’s Gun Restrictions Target Border State Citizens
Reporting Requirement Won’t Prevent Gun Trafficking,

Washington, Jul 11 –

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today criticized the Obama administration’s decision to impose new reporting requirements for gun sales in states along the U.S.-Mexico Border.

Chairman Smith: “Today’s announcement follows months of controversy over the ATF’s Fast and Furious program that allowed guns to be trafficked into Mexico without any way of preventing the guns from being used for illegal activity. One of the guns was used in the shooting death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. It is the height of hypocrisy for the Obama administration to restrict the gun rights of border state citizens, when the administration itself knowingly and intentionally allowed guns to be trafficked into Mexico.

“Limiting the second amendment rights of law abiding citizens is not going to solve the problem of guns being trafficked into Mexico. An additional reporting requirement won’t stop drug cartels from getting weapons. This rule unfairly punishes citizens in Border States who have the right to purchase firearms to protect themselves and their families from dangerous drug traffickers and human smugglers.

“A recent GAO report found that only 44% of the Southwest border is under operational control of the Border Patrol. Forty-four percent is a failing grade. If the Obama administration is serious about preventing guns from being trafficked to Mexico, they simply need to secure the Southwest border, not restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens.”

NRA Response To Multi-Rifle Reporting Requirement

The NRA-ILA issued this response to the DOJ’s new reporting requirement.

NRA Statement on Obama Administration Decision to Require Rifle Sales Reporting

$40 billion transnational criminal enterprises don’t fill out paperwork and are not deterred by paperwork violations. This is a blatant effort by the Obama administration and ATF to divert focus of Congress and the general public from their gross incompetence in the Fast and Furious scandal. This scheme will unjustly burden law-abiding retailers in border states. It will not affect drug cartels and and it won’t prevent violence along our borders. ATF and the Administration lacks the statutory authority to do this and the NRA will file suit as soon as ATF sends the first demand letters.

-Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA-ILA

DOJ Decrees Multi-Rifle Reporting In The Southwest

This was released this afternoon by Deputy Attorney General James Cole and orders the reporting of multiple sales of certain semi-automatic rifles sold in the Southwest. Cole, you may remember, had his nomination held up by Senator Charles Grassley until a deal was reached to allow ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson to be interviewed by House Oversight Committee staff. Given that Melson came in on his own accord with his own attorney, in hindsight, Cole should have been left in limbo.

Statement of Deputy Attorney General James Cole Regarding Information Requests for Multiple Sales of Semi-Automatic Rifles with Detachable Magazines

WASHINGTON – Deputy Attorney General James Cole issued the following statement today regarding information requests for multiple sales of semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines in select states along the Southwest Border:

“The international expansion and increased violence of transnational criminal networks pose a significant threat to the United States. Federal, state and foreign law enforcement agencies have determined that certain types of semi-automatic rifles – greater than .22 caliber and with the ability to accept a detachable magazine – are highly sought after by dangerous drug trafficking organizations and frequently recovered at violent crime scenes near the Southwest Border. This new reporting measure — tailored to focus only on multiple sales of these types of rifles to the same person within a five-day period — will improve the ability of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to detect and disrupt the illegal weapons trafficking networks responsible for diverting firearms from lawful commerce to criminals and criminal organizations. These targeted information requests will occur in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas to help confront the problem of illegal gun trafficking into Mexico and along the Southwest Border.”

This qualifies as one of the “under the radar” moves on gun control by the Obama Administration that was promised to Sarah Brady.

If you will remember, towards the end of May, I had up a form letter generator thanks to the efforts of “P.T.”. This generated over 3,200 letters opposing this regulation. This generated 9,666 page views so I am hoping that there were more letters actually sent in opposition even if not through the letter generator.

It is now obvious to me that our letters were ignored and that the Obama Administration had no intention of listening. The comment requirement was just to check off an item that was required by law. If you go to the ATF’s website where they had previously published “submissions for public contents, all you will see is a blank page.

Clearly, this action by the Obama Administration is without legal grounding as Congress granted no such authority in the Gun Control Act of 1968. As one commentator to said about Brit Hume’s comment that the Obama DOJ reminded him on the Nixon Justice Department:

Fast & Furious is a Nixonian Cover-up? AFAIK no one died because G. Gordon Liddy broke into Watergate. And at least AG Elliot Richardson and Asst AG William Ruckelshaus had the decency to resign when faced with firing Archibald Cox. This lot doesn’t bat an eye at firing an inconvenient Inspector General or honest public servant. I think we can comfortably state that the current administration is more ethically impaired then Richard Nixon’s.

It is time for Congress to get off their ass and pass Sen. Jon Tester’s S. 570 which would prohibit the Justice Department from tracking and cataloguing the multiple sales of shotguns and rifles. The bill has 28 co-sponsors in the Senate which is much more than the average bill. I fear, however, that it will stay bottled up in the Senate thanks to the efforts of Sen. Pat Leahy and Sen. Harry Reid.

I do foresee legal challenges being filed shortly against this directive. Whether it comes from the NRA or the Second Amendment Foundation or another group, one will come.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has more about the reporting requirement here.  Pravda on the Potomac’s favorite gun reporters, James Grimaldi and admitted plagiarist Sari Horwitz, included this little ditty as well:

The decision comes in the middle of a congressional investigation into a bungled ATF gun-smuggling investigation code-named “Fast and Furious.” Many current and former ATF agents said that if the new reporting rule had been in place, it might have prevented the types of mistakes made by the ATF in that investigation.

Of course, that is complete and utter bullshit. The dealers were already reporting these individuals and were told by ATF to go through with the sale. What makes anyone think that the sale still would not have been ordered to go through even with this rule under Operation Fast and Furious? Remember, they were “trying to bring down a drug cartel” and rules don’t matter when you are going for glory.