Battle Heats Up — Gun Foundation Files Motion to Block ATF Gun Reporting Regulation Along Mexican Border

atf file photo
By Danny Fenster

The legal battle is heating up over an ATF regulation requiring gun dealers in states that border Mexico to report multiple gun sales of semi-automatic rifles capable of using detachable magazines.

The latest: The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in D.C. opposing the regulation, filed a motion this week asking a judge to issue a preliminary injunction to block the regulation that impacts 8,500 federally licensed firearms retailers along the Southwest border in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. The regulation impacts multiple guns sales within five consecutive business days.

The NSSF filed for a preliminary injunction, hoping to block the regulation while the lawsuit is heard. The regulation took effect Aug. 14.

The NSSF  alleges that the ATF regulation exceeds its legal authority under the Gun Control Act. ATF has pushed for the regulation, hoping to stem the flow of American guns into Mexico, where violent cartels have spun out of control.

NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane issued a statement on the organization’s motion, saying:

“A preliminary injunction will curtail an unlawful regulation by ATF that sets a dangerous legal precedent. If ATF can demand this information from these law-abiding retailers simply by sending a letter requiring it, then there is no record or report ATF cannot require of any licensee, anywhere in the country, simply because ATF had decided it wants to see the information.

“This is the proverbial ‘slippery slope.’ Our industry abhors the criminal misuse of firearms, whether on the streets of El Paso or in Juarez, Mexico. Though we can understand ATF’s motive is to try to curtail violence in Mexico, Congress simply has not granted ATF regulatory carte blanche.”

In a footnote, the motion says the guns targeted by ATF “include many of the most commonly used firearms for sporting purposes, including target shooting and hunting.”

The ATF letter notifying gun dealers of the regulation was sent on July 12  and took effect on August 14. Of the approximately 8,500 retailers that received the letters, 789 were NSSF members. has its own short editorial on the matter as well, generally siding with the NSSF, while Media Matters has taken a  more cautious approach, debunking claims Chuck Norris and other gun rights groups have fueled.

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