New Year to Bring ATF Reports on Sales of Multiple Sporting Guns

In response to heightening concern over the flow of illegal guns into Mexico (which has followed from its inception like here, here and here) the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is making moves that would require FFL holders to report multiple sales of an assortment of firearms, beginning five days into the New Year.  This may not register as too out of the ordinary; gun retailers are already required to report multiple handgun sales and they are “more than encouraged” to report questionable sales or deny purchase to suspicious customers a.k.a. a young woman buying 10 AR-15s, cash in hand.  No, bells don’t go off until you realize that this mandate covers modern sporting rifles, a notion that has sportsman across the USA bristling.

An article in the Washington Post, who broke the story, suggests that the reporting mandate will be limited to retailers along the US Mexico border. Notwithstanding, there are currently no limits on the jurisdiction of the requirement as seen in a Federal Register Notice.

Dissecting the provisions further, this “emergency” ATF protocol demands that firearms retailers report multiple sales that take place by any one individual within five consecutive business days.  Reports will be made for sales of two or more semi-automatic rifles (.22 caliber and up) that are capable of accepting a detachable magazine.

The ATF mandate saw a groundswell of support from Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) coalition,New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s newly formalized gun control organization.  The National Shooting Sports Foundation has expressed its opposition to the new reporting requirement on the grounds that it further burdens America’s law-abiding firearms retailers.  They also anticipate it will be ineffective citing how criminals maneuver around one-gun-a-month laws in states like Virginia which is still considered an “export” state by many gun control groups.

They also question the legal authority of the ATF to unilaterally impose the act, which, as a matter of standard operations, is in fact currently under review.  This decision will fall to Cass Sunstein, head honcho at the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.  Sunstein, a legal guru of sorts, was initially a welcome compromise from the incoming Obama administration for conservatives and libertarians.  He has come under fire after several conservative organizations and websites attributed seemingly anti-hunting quotes to him.

If you would like to voice your opinion on this matter you have a number of options open to you:

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

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