Open season on the federal government and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) commenced with the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a trade association the firearms industry, filing a lawsuit challenging gun regulators authority to compel 8,500 firearms retailers in border states’ to report multiple rifle sales.
Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas dealers have come under fire by the federal government after their ill-fated ATF “Fast and Furious” garnered national headlines.
In an effort to cover their failures to manage, the Department of Justice (DOJ) unfairly targets dealers and mandates they report multiple sales of any semi-automatic rifle larger than .22 calibers.
NSSF’s lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, “seeks an injunction to block ATF from implementing the reporting requirement. ATF has sent ‘demand letters’ to firearms retailers in the four states to inform retailers they must begin reporting such sales by August 14.”
The firearm trade association believes the new record-keeping process will start a dangerous new precedent. “This is the proverbial ‘slippery slope,’ and our industry is extremely concerned about it,” said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane.
“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. Acting ATF Director Ken Melson himself has questioned ATF’s legal authority to impose this new requirement,” Keane explained.
The NSSF is encouraging all retailers, not just those along the Southwest border, to cooperate with law enforcement and ATF to report any suspicious activity while the lawsuit moves through the court system.
“The firearms industry and NSSF take pride in having a longstanding cooperative relationship with ATF,” said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti. “Retailers have long been considered a vital source of information for law enforcement in combating illegal firearm trafficking.”
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NSSF contends the new regulation will only change the way criminals purchase weapons.
“We believe the policy will make it more difficult for retailers to assist law enforcement,” said Keane. “Illegal firearms traffickers will simply alter their schemes to avoid and evade the reporting requirement, making it more difficult for retailers to identify and report suspicious activity.”
Firearm dealers have a long history of cooperating with law enforcement and the federal government by promoting programs like “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy.”
The ATF program educates retailers how to spot potential illegal purchasers and warns consumers that it’s a serious crime to purchase firearms illegally. “Over the last several years, the firearms industry has funded the roll out of ‘Don’t Lie for the Other Guy’ in border-state areas to deter individuals with intent to illegally purchase firearms.” (For more info http://www.dontlie.org)
Read the NSSF complaint.
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