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 a hugely misleading stat: 90 percent 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 percent figure cited to Congress was 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 and vague. 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 violates the Firearm Owners Protection Act:
a. By requiring these records be transferred to the United States Government, and
b. Creating an additional 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.
6. ATF is violating 18 USC §926(b) which 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. ATF is only giving 30 days’ notice.
7. ATF will use violations of the multiple rifle sale reporting requirement to punish dealers. The proposed rule is vague (by not defining “greater than .22, etc.) and deliberately misleading. As a result, many law-abiding dealers will misunderstand and inadvertently fail to report some sales. These unintentional violations will be used by ATF in attempts to revoke dealers licenses.
8. ATF is attempting an “end run” around Congress. As expressed in a letter from Montana’s Congressman, Denny Rehberg to the President, implementing ATF’s proposal will subject firearms dealers and their customers to:
a. New, onerous reporting requirements that will inevitably track and register the purchases of innocent law-abiding gun owners.
b. Congress authorized multiple sales reporting for handguns, but have never extended this authority to other types of firearms.
c. Expanding multiple sales reporting for rifles by executive decree would be an end run around Congress.