Judge Upholds ATF Gun Rule for SW Border States

A federal judge has upheld a rule proposed by the ATF to track multiple gun sales in Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico in a lawsuit brought by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and two gun dealers in Arizona.

Over the summer the ATF announced that it would seek information in those four states on gun purchasers who buy two or more weapons a week for semi-automatic long guns that have a caliber greater than .22 and a detachable magazine. The ATF would require gun dealers to report the sale of multiple rifles with what ATF was calling a Demand Letter for the records.

The rule was sought amid the controversy over the botched ATF gun trafficking operation Fast and Furious, which resulted in about 2,000 weapons being allowed to flow into Mexico. The Obama administration has said it was seeking the rule to allow for more accurate and faster tracing of guns involved in crimes that may be linked to drug trafficking.

The suit was brought by the National Shooting Sports Foundation,  J & G Sales Ltd., and Foothills Firearms LLC. They argued that the ATF proposal was not authorized by Congress and that the measure would amount to a national firearms registry.

"The reporting requirement is an effort to increase ATF's ability to detect and disrupt the illegal firearms trafficking networks responsible for diverting firearms from lawful commerce into the hands of criminal gangs that threaten law abiding citizens," an ATF spokesman said in a statement.  "The Department of Justice is pleased the court upheld the requirement."

In her ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer wrote, "Congress has effected a delicate balance between ATF's regulation of firearms and the right to privacy held by lawful firearms owners. ATF's Demand Letter did not disturb that balance. Because the Demand Letter was limited to only certain sales of certain guns in certain states, ATF did not exceed its authority. Further, ATF did not act arbitrarily or capriciously because the reporting requirement set forth in the Demand Letter was based on relevant factors. Accordingly, the Court will grant ATF's motion for summary judgment."

Click here for the judge's opinion.

"We disagree with the Judge and an appeal will be forthcoming," said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam when asked about the ruling. "This is more proof that the Obama administration is intent on blaming gun owners and the Second Amendment for a problem that is rooted in Mexico."