Obama Admin. to Toughen Reporting on Gun Sales Along Southwest Border

James Cole/law firm
By Allan Lengel

After a long delay, the White House on Monday finally gave the green light for a regulation that would require gun dealers along the Southwest border to report sales of two or more semi-automatic weapons with detachable magazines to the same person within five days.

The rule, which applies to dealers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, comes in the midst of major controversy involving an ATF program known as Operation Fast and Furious. The program encouraged Arizona dealers to sell to middlemen or straw purchasers — all with the hopes of  tracing them to the Mexican cartels. Some of the weapons started showing up at crime scenes, angering the Mexican government and some members of Congress.

“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,” Deputy Atty. Gen. James Cole said in a statement.

“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.”

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