WASHINGTON -- The gun industry plans to file lawsuits on Wednesday challenging requirements that weapons dealers along the U.S. border with Mexico report multiple sales of semi-automatic rifles, escalating the fight with the Obama administration.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives last month ordered more than 8,000 gun dealers in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and California to report such sales to try to stem the "iron river" of guns flowing to the violent Mexican drug cartels.
Dealers are required to report sales of two or more rifles to the same person at one time or during any five business days for semi-automatic weapons greater than .22 caliber and with the ability to accept a detachable magazine.
Does it ban multiple rifle sales? No. Does it require permanent records of all firearms ownership? No. All the rule says is that the purchase of more than one semi-automatic rifle over .22 caliber within a week will create a modicum of extra paperwork for dealers and a small chance of added scrutiny for buyers. And in this the NRA finds a grave threat to liberty.
Here's the important thing to keep in mind about this rule: it doesn't infringe the right to keep and bear arms in the slightest. You know how I know that? Because it doesn't affect anyone in any way until they've purchased a second firearm. Those who want to have a rifle for lawful purposes can still do so. Those who want multiple rifles for lawful purposes can still get them, either immediately with a little extra thoroughness from the government, or over a longer period and without the additional scrutiny.
Why bother challenging this rule at all? It makes good sense and doesn't risk gun owners' rights in any real way.