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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Judge OKs Demand for Gun Sales Reports

WASHINGTON (CN) - A federal judge approved the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' demand that gun dealers and pawnbrokers in states on the Mexican border report to the ATF whenever they sell "two or more semi-automatic rifles capable of accepting a detachable magazine, and with a caliber greater than .22 to an unlicensed person."

"Congress has effected a delicate balance between ATF's regulation of firearms and the right to privacy held by lawful firearms owners," U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer wrote in dismissing a complaint filed by The National Shooting Sports Foundation.

"ATF's Demand Letter did not disturb that balance."

According to the Foundation's complaint, the ATF sent demand letters to gun dealers and pawnbrokers in California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, asking that they inform the ATF of "multiple sales or other dispositions whenever they 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."

"Plaintiffs contend that ATF should be enjoined from requiring such reporting because Congress has indicated expressly that the federal government will not establish a national firearms registry and the reporting requirement at issue here would create just such a registry," Judge Collyer wrote. "The parties have filed cross motions for summary judgment. Because ATF's reporting requirement is properly limited in scope, summary judgment will be granted in favor of ATF."

Collyer ruled that because the letter was limited to certain sales of certain guns in certain states, ATF did not exceed its authority.

She added that the ATF also did not act arbitrarily or capriciously because the reporting requirement "was based on relevant factors."

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