ATF Announces Demand Letters for Multiple Sales of Long Guns in Border States

ATF Acting Director Announces Demand Letters for Multiple Sales of Specific Long Guns in Four Border States
By Ken Melson, the Acting Director of ATF.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Washington, DC –-( A recent initiative by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has caught the attention of national media outlets.

I wanted to make sure everyone heard from me about this law enforcement initiative so there isn’t any confusion.

Recently, ATF announced through the Federal Register our intent to initiate a new Demand Letter requiring the reporting of multiple sales of certain long guns by Federal Firearms Licensees, known as FFLs, in the four Southwest Border States. We took this step as a way to help gain actionable law enforcement intelligence which we believe will help reduce criminal firearms trafficking along the Southwest border.

Before we can actually issue the Demand Letter we must receive approval from the Office of Management and Budget for purposes of the paperwork reduction act. We expect to receive that approval in early January, 2011.

As many of you already know, the goals of ATF’s Southwest border firearms trafficking strategy are:

  • To prevent violent crime;
  • Ensure the safety of the communities and law enforcement situated along the Southwest Border;
  • And to disrupt and dismantle the firearms trafficking networks responsible for the diversion of firearms from lawful commerce into the hands of the Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs)

Since 2006, there has been a significant increase in drug and firearms-related violence in Mexico and along our Southwest border. In response to this increased violence, ATF has deployed focused resources nationally to prevent the firearms trafficking along the Southwest Border and into Mexico.

According to ATF trace data, investigative experience, and Mexican law enforcement officials, a large number of rifles are being used in violent crimes in Mexico and along the border. Our new Demand Letter will implement a limited reporting of multiple sales of certain long guns that functions similarly to the current practice of reporting on the multiple sales of handguns. Currently, all FFLs in the country are required to submit a report of multiple sales to the National Tracing Center when an FFL sells two or more handguns to the same purchaser within five consecutive business days.

The proposed Demand Letter, which is narrowly circumscribed to meet our objectives, will apply a similar reporting requirement to certain long guns, but with these distinct differences:

First, the reporting requirement will apply only to FFLs doing business in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, which are major source states for crime guns seized in Mexico and traced to federal firearms licensees.

Secondly, the reporting requirement applies only to those rifles having all of the following characteristics:

  • A semi-automatic action;
  • A caliber greater than .22; and
  • The ability to accept a detachable magazine.

These specific characteristics subject a very narrow group of long guns that have been identified by ATF and the Government of Mexico as being involved in violent crimes in Mexico to the reporting requirement.

This reporting requirement would apply to the disposition of all rifles in the inventory of the FFLs exhibiting these characteristics, both new and used.

Third, we propose to implement this initiative as a pilot project for a period of one year.

Taken together, limiting the geographic scope, impacting a limited number of licensees, affecting a specific group of rifles, and limiting the duration of this reporting requirement, form a tailored, discreet, responsible and proactive response to a significant law enforcement issue.

Let me be absolutely clear. The purpose of requiring FFLs to report the specified multiple long gun sales in these four source states is to identify criminal firearms traffickers, not to prevent the full and free exercise of our Second Amendment rights, or to encumber the FFLs with burdensome paperwork.

These reports will give ATF real-time leads for the investigation of gun trafficking. ATF’s experience in these source states proves that multiple purchases of the described rifles are strong indicators of firearms trafficking to Mexico. By obtaining information about these multiple sales, ATF increases the likelihood of uncovering and disrupting trafficking schemes before the firearms make their way into Mexico.

I know that FFLs are good citizens who share ATF’s interest and commitment in keeping guns out of criminal hands. Working together we can do that without infringing on the rights of law abiding Americans.

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AlanR - GunRightsAle

"…a very narrow group of long guns…" that are most popular and fastest growing segment of long guns in the USA.


1. By their own admission, ATF has overstated the "trafficking" problem and deliberately mislead Congress and the American People. Between 2008 and 2010, ATF quoted 90% of guns seized in Mexico came from the United States. In September 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a draft report critical of Project Gunrunner, followed by a final version in November, 2010. The OIG analysis of ATF data shows, of the guns submitted for tracing, a much lower percentage of guns (about 27 percent) traced to the United States. These percentages significantly differ from those… Read more »

John Doe

"ATF Announces Demand Letters for Multiple Sales of Long Guns in Border States"

hey, WA is a border state. They already unleashed the Border Patrol up here, Texas style, complete with checkpoints, one of which involved the cuffing, detaining and harassing of a medical marijuana having Veteran, similar to Willie Nelson, but legal per WA state law.

John Doe

Greater reporting req.s = higher prices for Joe six pack. This is a tax. More NICS delays. No safety net as usual. Same reason I was paying more for pistols in 2008.

5:12 "increases the likelihood" of apprehending…

Joe s. p. is the only one who won't file the serial # off. total amateur hour.


So, what were you expecting? A government agency to act responsibly and tell you the truth?
Wake up, folks. Our government no longer reflects the will of it's citizenry.
Time to do something about it.
Stop filing and paying your taxes.
Stop registering any information about yourself of any kind for any reason.
Contact your elected representatives and take them to task.
Bring down the facade and get some common sense and accountability back into those we elect to watch over us.


Liars. Treasonous, liars. Their every waking breath is spent telling us, what the constitution doesn't say, even if the words are there, stating the rights, that they tell us don't exist or require modification without consent. They're always willing to tell us what rights don't exist according to them and then tell us that everything else is negotiable.

George Mason

The BATFE head is a Liar. The regulation as proposed is a national regulation that in of itself is unlawful. The regulation proposed is outside the statutory grant of authority to record information about multiple sales of firearms. Title 18 U.S.C. § 923(g)(3)(A) specifically grants the authority to collect multiple sale information on handguns and revolvers. Other firearms are excluded and there is no implied authority to extend this reporting requirement to rifles or any other type of firearm. See RSM, Inc. v. Buckles, 254 F. 3d 61, 69 (4th Cir. 2001)("It is clear that Congress did not intend to… Read more »

Randall Rockhill

The NRA entered Iowa and wrote a shall carry bill with the anti-gun crowd and the bill passed without the common sense amendments that the IGO had hopped to include. The bill might be better than what Iowa has had in the past but why was the NRA making nice with the liberal politicians? We all can do better, and I know where I'm spending my 2nd amendment money! IGO


The ATF's goals are always the same; despite Ken's lies:

1) Harass law-abiding citizens.

2) Destroy as many small business' as they possibly can.

3) Get rid of as many FFLs as they can.

4) Trample on as many rights as possible.

Give it a rest Ken, you, your "agency" and the government you work for as a parasite, have NO credibility with us any more. Find a real job and get a life, loser.


So… in effect they are going to infringe on your rights without actually infringing on your rights…