Boren-Rehberg Amendment Blocks ATF From Unauthorized Tracking Of Rifle Purchases
WASHINGTON, D.C. –-(Ammoland.com)- U.S. Congressmen Dan Boren of Oklahoma and Denny Rehberg of Montana successfully amended H.R. 1, the Fiscal Year Continuing Appropriations Act for FY2011, to prohibit the use of federal funds for a new and unauthorized regulation currently being proposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
The Boren-Rehberg amendment prevents the ATF from circumventing the will of Congress by centralizing records of thousands of Americans’ rifle purchases without any legal authority.
Specifically, the ATF proposal would require federally licensed firearm dealers to file reports with ATF on all sales of two or more semi-automatic rifles within five consecutive business days if the rifles are larger than .22 caliber and use detachable magazines. The ATF has claimed in public statements that the requirement would apply only to California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. The notice published in the Federal Register, however, does not mention a limitation to just these states. The new unauthorized plan would include many of today’s most popular rifles, which are owned by millions of Americans for self-defense, hunting and other lawful purposes.
“The ATF has no legal authority to demand these reports. Congress previously approved these types of reports for the sales of multiple handguns only and has rejected reporting requirements for rifles, or long guns. As recently as last fall, ATF claimed that a reporting requirement for long guns ‘may require a change to the Gun Control Act’, and yet with this new regulation they are trying to circumvent doing just that. That’s because they know there is not enough support in Congress to approve this change to the Gun Control Act,” said Boren.
Boren added, “It’s critical to remember that with or without this program, ATF already has full access to records of every firearm transaction by every licensed dealer when such records are connected to a criminal investigation. Given that fact, this new regulation would create a flood of new reports that will further waste already scarce law enforcement resources, subject law-abiding firearms sellers to yet another reporting requirement, and compromise the privacy of their customers by cataloguing personal information in a database.”
Recent media reports focused on an ongoing Senate investigation suggest that ATF is currently unable to handle dealers’ voluntary, real-time reports of suspicious multiple sales. If thousands of additional mandatory reports were added to this, and resources are diverted from actual investigations of suspicious transactions, the proposed regulation may do more harm than good.
Boren and Rehberg’s amendment blocking ATF from receiving funding to implement the regulation was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives late Friday evening by a vote of 277 to 149. Several House members and U.S. Senators have already signed letters to the Administration opposing the program. The amendment was fully supported by the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.