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Despite well-organized opposition, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires) remains intent on forcing federal firearms licensees (FFLs) to fill-out Form 3310.12. Under the new “emergency” order, gun dealers in four states would be required to provide information on multiple long gun sales. In effect, the ATF is attempting to create a federal long gun registry by executive fiat, rather than legislative mandate (which specifically forbids the agency from doing any such thing). They’ve released the following document in support of this outrage against the rule of law in general and gun rights in particular . . .

As part of the Southwest Border Firearms Trafficking/Violence Initiative, ATF is requiring licensed dealers and pawnbrokers in California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico to submit information concerning multiple sales of certain rifles.

Notice the language: “. . . is requiring licensed dealers and pawnbrokers . . . to submit.” Not ” . . . is requesting the authority to require license dealers and pawnbrokers . . . to submit.” As far as the ATF is concerned, this is a done deal. [Click here for the entire document.]

The Gun Control Act (GCA) requires Federal firearms licensees (FFLs) to report multiple sales of handguns to the same purchaser. 18 U.S.C. § 923(g)(5). The sale of two or more handguns must be reported if they occur at the same time, or within 5 business days of each other. The report must be filed with ATF no later than the close of business on the day the multiple sales or other disposition took place and includes information that identifies the purchaser and the firearms purchased. These reports provide ATF with potential intelligence and almost real-time investigative leads that can indicate illegal firearms trafficking.

Notice that the ATF claims that the multiple handgun reporting provision creates “potential intelligence” that “can indicate” illegal firearms trafficking. Although there must be cases where the handgun registry helped the ATF’s investigations, there is no compelling evidence that this provision has increased the ATF’s efficiency. Or triggered any investigation. In fact, we know of several cases where a gun dealer gave the ATF a heads-up on dodgy multiple handgun sales, which the Agency had missed completely.

This “we did it for handguns so it’s OK for long guns” argument is a heads-up for people who don’t believe that there’s a slippery slope from one gun control law to another, more stringent law. 18 U.S.C. § 923(g)(5) was specifically written to exclude long guns. And now . . . this.

No similar requirement exists for long guns, regardless of the caliber, gauge, or suitability for sporting purposes. As a result, individuals can purchase dozens of rifles at one time without ATF being made aware of the sale.

This statement assumes that there should be a mandatory reporting mechanism to make the ATF aware of individuals who purchase “dozens of rifles” at one time. The clear implication: the lack of a mandatory reporting process was some sort of “oversight.” After all, anyone who buys “dozens of rifles” at a time is up to no good and should be investigated. Even if it’s say, a rifle team. Or a gun range. Or someone who collects rifles. Guilty until proven innocent.

How about this first: define “dozens.” One dozen? Two dozen? Three dozens? Hey look! It’s a straw man! A BIG straw man. ‘Cause the new proposed regulation applies to sales of TWO rifles sold in a FIVE DAY PERIOD. That’s a far cry from a crate-load of AK-47s.

Mexican law enforcement officials have reported that certain types of rifles are being used in violent crimes in Mexico.  These rifles typically include AR-15 variants with detachable magazines.  Mexican officials believe that these rifles primarily come from the United States in large quantities and many have been sold by FFLs to persons working for Mexican drug trafficking organizations.

Seriously? The United States of America is going to base a new regulation on firearms sales—regulations that challenge a key constitutional right and violate privacy—based on intelligence provided by the Mexican government? On the Mexican government’s beliefs and suspicions?

Before taking that leap of faith, let’s ask our neighbors to the South—or the ATF—to define the term “large quantities.” And if the Mexicans say American FFLs (Federal Firearms Licenses) have sold “many” (number unspecified) AR-style rifles to drug cartel operatives in the U.S, why hasn’t the ATF shut those rogue dealers down? Is the ATF suggesting that they can’t do anything about the problem without a long gun registry?

Successful trace data from recovered rifles show they primarily come from the United States, and that many have been sold by FFLs.

OMG. This again. When I spoke to an ATF official about this hugely misleading stat, he blamed Congress and the media for misinterpreting the importance of trace data from Mexico. He fully and freely admitted that the number of ATF traces on gun data submitted by the Mexican government was NOT representative of the total number of guns confiscated from cartels.

I repeat: the term “recovered rifles” as used here does NOT include ALL rifles recovered by the Mexican government. In fact, we know they’ve recovered a large (but unrevealed) number of rifles stamped “property of the Mexican military.” You can bet those bad boys don’t come from Bob’s gun store. But they are sold with the American government’s full knowledge and approval. FYI.

By requiring the reporting of multiple sales of the specified rifles, this proposal would provide potentially useful investigative leads to law enforcement in pursuing firearms trafficking to Mexico, as well as firearms trafficking in general.  The authority to require FFLs to submit information concerning multiple sales or other disposition of certain rifles derives from 18 U.S.C. 923 (g)(5).

Never mind the absurdity of the term “potentially useful.” This is the smoking gun. As the ATF states in the second sentence of this very document, 18 U.S.C. 923 (g)(5) does not allow mandatory reporting of long guns. It specifically forbids it. The FFL has no authority to make this requirement whatsoever. None. This “emergency” regulation is patently illegal.

The reports of multiple sales or other dispositions are used by ATF as a mean to discern patterns in the purchase of firearms that may end up in the interstate trafficking of illegal firearms. The information is used to determine if the buyer (transferee) is involved in an unlawful activity, or is a person prohibited by law from obtaining firearms.

This is a pretty ballsy statement. It says straight out that the ATF is trolling through records looking for illegal sales—based on criteria that they and they alone know and use. (What are “other dipositions?) Without a warrant. Or probable cause. Skipping ahead . . .

A letter to the Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) will accompany this form.  The letter will instruct FFLs to submit ATF reports of multiple sales or other dispositions whenever the FFL sell or otherwise dispose of, at one time or during any five consecutive business days, two or more semi-automatic rifles capable of accepting a detachable magazine, and with a caliber greater than .22 to an unlicensed person.  The letter also states that the information must be submitted on ATF Form 3310.12, Report of Multiple Sales or Other Disposition of Certain Rifles no later than the close of business on the day the multiple sale or other disposition takes place.

Now you might think that this reporting requirement could be a little onerous for some 8500 gun dealers, who face fines, jail time and the loss of their FFL license if they fail to comply. But don’t worry, ’cause . . .

The collection of information does not have any impact on small business or other small entities.

They said it. So it must be true. Same for this:

The consequences of not conducting this information collection would pose a threat to public safety . . .

Failure to collect this information is likely to hinder law enforcement’s effort to combat trafficking and reduce violence along the Southwest border states.

Respondent’s confidentiality is not assured.

Whoa! Hang on. This means the ATF may turn your name and address, height, weight, date of birth, and maybe SSN over to other law enforcement agencies, the IRS or corrupt Mexican cops, where it could migrate to border guards. And here’s the last affront:

ATF request authorization to omit printing the expiration date on this form. Printing the expiration date on this form will result in increased cost because of the need to replace inventories that become obsolete by the passage of the expiration date each time OMB approval is renewed. Also, because of the criticality of this form, changes can occur at any time. ATF must maintain a substantial inventory of forms at the Distribution Center at all times. For these reasons, ATF request authorization to omit printing the expiration date on the form.

This is a clear indication that there’s nothing “emergency” or “temporary” about this new regulation. If you recall, this reg was originally proposed as a 90-day measure. Then, without warning, Acting ATF Head Melson changed it to one year. If this goes through, it will live on, and expand into other states.

If you’re a firearms owner who doesn’t support the idea of a national long gun registry, the ATF must be stopped right now, right here. Call your pol to protest.

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