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January 7, 2011

White House Delays Multiple Sales Reporting Requirement for Long Guns


An ATF proposal to require federally licensed firearms retailers to report multiple sales of rifles has been placed on hold by the White House amid stiff opposition from the firearms industry and NRA. Specifically, the ATF requirement calls for firearm retailers to report multiple sales, or other dispositions, of two or more semi-automatic rifles that are larger than .22 caliber, capable of accepting a detachable magazine and are purchased by the same individual within five consecutive business days.

Though ATF has called this proposal an “emergency” mandate, it was originally pushed by the anti-gun Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) coalition more than a year and a half ago.

ATF lacks the authority to mandate multiple long gun sales requirements.  Last year, the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reviewed ATF’s Project Gunrunner.  In that report, OIG recommended that ATF “explore options for seeking a requirement for [the] reporting of multiple sales of long guns.”  ATF Deputy Director Kenneth Melson concurred with the recommendation, but noted that such a mandate could “require a change to the Gun Control Act which is beyond ATF’s and the Departments authority.”  NSSF agrees with ATF Deputy Director Melson.  Such action would require a change to the Gun Control Act and neither ATF nor DOJ have the authority to do so.

NSSF continues to oppose multiple sales reporting of these firearms. Such reporting requirements will actually make it more difficult for licensed retailers to help law enforcement as traffickers modify their illegal schemes to circumvent the reporting requirement. Traffickers will go further underground, hiring more people to buy their firearms. This will make it much harder for retailers to identify and report suspicious behavior to law enforcement.

NSSF would also like to remind all members of industry, sportsmen and gun owners to continue to voice their concerns by doing the following:

1. Call the Office of Management and Budget, Office of Information and Regulation Affairs, Department of Justice, Desk Officer at (202) 395-6466.

2. E-mail Barbara A. Terrell, ATF, Firearms Industry Programs Branch at [email protected]

3. Call your Senators and Representative: United States Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121

4. Send an already formatted cap-wiz letter

Points to make:

  1. Multiple sales reporting of long guns will actually make it more difficult for licensed retailers to help law enforcement as traffickers modify their illegal schemes to circumvent the reporting requirement. Traffickers will go further underground, hiring more people to buy their firearms. This will make it much harder for retailers to identify and report suspicious behavior to law enforcement.
  2. Long guns are rarely used in crime (Bureau of Justice Statistics).
  3. Imposing multiple sales-reporting requirements for long guns would further add to the already extensive paperwork and record-keeping requirements burdening America’s retailers – where a single mistake could cost them their license and even land them in jail.
  4. Last year, ATF inspected 2,000 retailers in border states and only two licenses were revoked (0.1%). These revocations were for reasons unknown and could have had nothing to do with illicit trafficking of guns; furthermore, no dealers were charged with any criminal wrongdoing.
  5. According to ATF, the average age of a firearm recovered in the United States is 11 years old. In Mexico it’s more than 14 years old.  This demonstrates that criminals are not using new guns bought from retailers in the states.
  6. Congress, when it enacted multiple sales reporting for handguns, could have required multiple sales of long guns – it specifically chose not to.