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.

  • 16 thoughts on “ATF Announces Demand Letters for Multiple Sales of Long Guns in Border States

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

    2. 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 in ATF testimony before Congress

      When confronted with the OIG analysis, ATF then admitted to the OIG that the 90% figure cited to Congress is misleading. During this 2010 review by the OIG, ATF could not provide updated information on the percentage of traced Mexican crime guns that originated in or imported through the United States.

      2. ATF’s proposed reporting is overly broad. Rather than “a very narrow group of long guns” as ATF stated, the proposed rule includes a huge number of guns unlikely to be trafficked. Instead of specifying the guns ATF keeps saying are the problem (AK47, AR15, .50 caliber, etc.), they have included a huge number of curio and relic rifles up to 100 years old of interest mainly by collectors, many ordinary hunting rifles, and many rifles chambered for obsolete ammunition no longer manufactured.

      3. ATF’s proposed reporting constitutes a direct two-fold violation of the Firearm Owners Protection Act by requiring these records be transferred to the United States Government, and also constitutes a system of registration of firearms and firearm owners.

      “No such rule or regulation prescribed after the date of the enactment of the Firearms Owners Protection Act may require that records required to be maintained under this chapter or any portion of the contents of such records, be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or disposition be established. Nothing in this section expands or restricts the Secretary’s authority to inquire into the disposition of any firearm in the course of a criminal investigation.”

      4. Once reported to ATF, these proposed registration records never go away, but permanently remain in ATF databases at the National Tracing Center, and if traced, will be reported to corrupt Mexican police.

      If a trace links to any of these records, even in error, many innocent American gun owners personal information (including name and address, height, weight, drivers license number, possibly Social Security Number, date of birth, place of birth, and all other guns linked to that last name and date of birth) will be reported with a trace. If your name is Smith (or Garcia in the Southwest), there are many people with the same date of birth!

      5. ATF is attempting to exceed it’s authority to require reporting of rifles. 18 USC Section 923(g) explicitly gives ATF authority to gather information on multiple handgun sales, but not rifles.

      18 USC §926(b) provides “The Attorney General shall give not less than ninety days public notice, and shall afford interested parties opportunity for hearing, before prescribing such rules and regulations.” This is stricter than the Admin Procedure Act’s general provision for a “reasonable” comment period, and it has no emergency exceptions. ATFE is only giving 30 days’ notice.

    3. “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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    6. 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.

    7. 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 give BATF carte blanche with regard to informational requests from federal firearms licensees.”).

      This regulatory action has not allowed the public sufficient time to comment and again violates the provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 926(b) which requires a ninety day notice by the Attorney General.

      I think that this will prove that BATFE are now abrogating to themselves an unwarrantable and dangerous power; which is in its nature Subversive of American Liberty; for if they can stride over the lines of the constituiona and the law and assume Rights not delegated to them by the Congress, in one instance, they can in every other that the lust of power may suggest.

    8. 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

    9. 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.

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