The ATF recently proposed regulations to track multiple sales of guns in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California to look for possible straw purchasers, but the effort was blocked by the House of Representatives last month.
Attorney General Eric Holder told the House Appropriations Committee today that he supports for the proposed regulation.
"Those people who act as straw purchasers and who buy weapons in their own names, but then transfer them, sell them to people illegally for use in Mexico," he said. "That's one of the reasons that this ATF proposal is, I think, a good one."
He said that in the case of straw purchases, any individual transaction can appear to be legitimate and only when a pattern can be determined could a trafficker be caught.
"We don't know what the ultimate destination of that weapon might be," he said. "And to the extent that we can look for multiple sales within a relatively short period of time and along the border, those border states, I think we are focusing our attention in an appropriate way, respectful of the constitutional rights that American citizens have to purchase and to hold weapons, while at the same time trying to meet the obligations that we have to our very valiant Mexican neighbors who have lost substantial numbers of people."
Mexican authorities have also asked U.S. officials to increase enforcement on gun crimes in the United States.