Gun rights advocates in St. Louis and across the country must make their voices heard, to stop a flagitious new infringement on that which shall not be infringed. This is a further development of something discussed here a couple days ago: the possibility that in addition to the 42-year-old requirement to report multiple handgun sales (as part of the Gun Control Act of 1968), multiple sales of long guns (rifles and shotguns, in other words) would now have to be reported. At the risk of being accused of hyperbolic, “‘Sky is falling’ rhetoric,” it is time to point out that the BATFE apparently is committed to imposing such a requirement, and to do so administratively, without even the pretense of Constutitionality provided by congressional authority.
According to the Washington Post, the idea is to take a smaller (and therefore apparently considered more politically viable) bite of the apple, by somewhat limiting the scope of the new regulations. Thus, the multiple long gun sales requirement would only apply to certain rifles (detachable magazine-fed, semiautomatic rifles above .22 caliber–so called “assault weapons,” very broadly defined, in other words), and only gun dealers near the Mexican border would be affected.
To stem the flow of guns to Mexico, federal firearms regulators are proposing an emergency requirement that certain gun dealers along the southwestern border report bulk sales of so-called assault weapons beginning as soon as January.
Dealers would be required to alert authorities when they sell within five consecutive business days two or more semiautomatic rifles greater than .22 caliber with detachable magazines, according to the draft obtained by The Washington Post. Semiautomatic rifles such as AK-47s and AR-15s are favored by drug-trafficking organizations fighting the Mexican government.
Alert readers will undoubtedly note that the standard caliber for AR-15s (.223 Remington or 5.56mm NATO) is basically “.22 caliber”; one can only assume that “.22 caliber” refers to .22 rimfire. Regardless, the limitations to be placed on the proposed new requirement make it no less noxious. The targeted rifles are exactly those of the greatest utility, and the privacy of rifle purchasers in Texas and Arizona is as worthy of protection as that of shotgun purchasers in Wisconsin.
WaPo also provided the actual text of the proposal (pdf file).
Note that this is being touted as an “emergency requirement.” despite the fact that the campaign to use Mexican drug war violence as justification for more oppressive U.S. gun laws is at least two years old. What new development, one wonders, has turned this into an “emergency” priority? It’s considered so much of an “emergency,” apparently, that although they will seek comments, from the public and from other agencies that will be affected, for 60 days, but the BATFE is requesting permission to implement it by Jan. 5, 2011, or 19 days from now.
The comment seeking is apparently supposed to start today, and that’s where gun rights advocates can first make our presence felt. I have not yet seen a website where the comments are supposed to be made, but will keep checking, and will update this article as soon as it is available.
By the way, the New York Times yesterday suggested another angle for this kind of regulation: presidential executive order:
With a more Republican Congress in the wings and Democratic lawmakers openly fearful of the gun lobby’s political clout, there is no expectation of courageous legislating to close the loophole. But executive order is another possibility.
Keep an eye on this article, and be ready to make your comments as soon as I get the link up. With apologies to Smokey the Bear, only you can prevent “gun control.”
Update: The request for comment has now been submitted to the Federal Register. The request for comment can be seen here (pdf file). Comments are to be sent to:
Barbara A. Terrell
Firearms Industry Programs Branch
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
99 New York Avenue, NE
Washington DC 20226
Another place to comment:
OMB, Office of Information and Regulation Affairs
Attention: Departement of Justice Desk Officer
Update 2: For anyone at a loss for what to say in comments to the BATFE about the proposed rule change, my own comment can be seen here.
Update 12/19/2010: Be sure to see National Gun Rights Examiner Dan’s ATF ‘emergency’ long gun reporting an agenda-driven power grab
- BATFE hoping to bypass legislative process to impose draconian new requirements?
- ATF to Require Multiple Sales Reports for Long Guns
- BATFE And Proposed “Two-A-Day” Long Arms Regulation