ATF to Require Multiple Sales Reports for Long Guns
December 17, 2010 By Larry Keane
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives (ATF) is moving to require federally licensed
firearms retailers to report multiple sales of modern
sporting rifles beginning January 5, 2011. Specifically, the
ATF requirement calls for firearms retailers to report
multiple sales, or other dispositions, of two or more .22
caliber or larger semi-automatic rifles that are capable of
accepting a detachable magazine and are purchased by
the same individual within five consecutive business days.
Today’s Washington Post suggests that the reporting
mandate would be limited to retailers along the Southwest
border; however, the Federal Register Notice does not limit
the geographic scope of the reporting requirement.
This ATF “emergency” mandate was originally pushed by
the anti-gun Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) coalition,
headed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, more
than a year and a half ago. And the Post reports that the
Department of Justice has “languished” over this plan for
several months. Given this timetable, it’s hard to see exactly
where the “emergency” is.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation opposes this
reporting requirement because it further burdens America’s
law-abiding firearms retailers with yet another onerous
regulation that will do nothing to curb crime. Multiple sales
reporting of long guns will actually make it more difficult for
licensed retailers to help law enforcement as traffickers
modify their illegal schemes to circumvent the reporting
requirement, thereby driving traffickers further underground.
This is not unlike how criminals maneuvered around
one-gun-a-month laws in states like Virginia – which is still
considered an “exporting source state” by anti-gun
organizations like the MAIG despite its restrictions on the
number of firearms law-abiding residents may purchase.
Multiple sales reporting for long guns is an ill-considered
mandate and one that ATF does not have the legal authority to
unilaterally impose. In fact, ATF has not specified under what
legal authority it presumes to act. The decision as to whether
ATF can move forward with this agenda-driven mandate will
be left to Cass Sunstein who heads the White House Office
of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). This is the same
Cass Sunstein who in a 2007 speech at Harvard University
said, “We ought to ban hunting, if there isn’t a purpose other
than sport and fun. That should be against the law. It’s time now.”
NSSF will be submitting comments in opposition to this
registration scheme and is encouraging all firearms retailers,
sportsmen and enthusiasts to do the same.
Please voice your concern by doing the following:
1. Call the Office of Management and Budget, Office of
Information and Regulation Affairs, Department of Justice,
Desk Officer at (202) 395-6466.
2. E-mail Barbara A. Terrell, ATF, Firearms Industry Programs
Branch at Barbara.Terrell@atf.gov
3. Call your Senators and Representative: United States Capitol
Points to make:
1. Multiple sales reporting of long guns will actually make it
more difficult for licensed retailers to help law enforcement as
traffickers modify their illegal schemes to circumvent the
reporting requirement. Traffickers will go further underground,
hiring more people to buy their firearms. This will make it much
harder for retailers to identify and report suspicious behavior
to law enforcement.
2. Long guns are rarely used in crime (Bureau of Justice
3. Imposing multiple sales-reporting requirements for long
guns would further add to the already extensive paperwork and
record-keeping requirements burdening America’s retailers – where
a single mistake could cost them their license and even land them
4. Last year, ATF inspected 2,000 retailers in border states
and only two licenses were revoked (0.1%). These revocations were
for reasons unknown and could have had nothing to do with illicit
trafficking of guns; furthermore, no dealers were charged with
any criminal wrongdoing.
5. According to ATF, the average age of a firearm recovered in
the United States is 11 years old. In Mexico it’s more than 14
years old. This demonstrates that criminals are not using new
guns bought from retailers in the states.
6. Congress, when it enacted multiple sales reporting for
handguns, could have required multiple sales of long guns – it
specifically chose not to.