Uncle Sam Can Get Gun Sale Reports

     (CN) – The Obama administration can require gun dealers in four Southwest border states to report when customers buy multiple weapons, the D.C. Circuit ruled Friday.
     National Shooting Sports Foundation had the federal complaint in early August 2011, weeks after the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent letters to 8,500 federal firearms licensees (FFLs) in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, demanding that they report all unlicensed people who buy multiple semiautomatic rifles within five days of the purchase.
     The foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. A federal judge later consolidated its case with separate actions filed against the ATF by J&G Sales and Foothills Firearms.
     With the court granting summary judgment to the government in January 2012, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit affirmed Friday.
     “In short, because ATF sent the demand letter to only seven percent of FFLs nationwide and required information on only a small number of transactions, the July 2011 demand letter does not come close to creating a ‘national firearms registry,'” Judge Karen Henderson wrote for the panel.
     The July demand letters require dealers to “report basic identifying information about the FFL and the customer as well as the rifle’s serial number, manufacturer, importer, model, caliber and sale date – all information ‘required to be kept'” under the Gun Control Act of 1968, according to the ruling
     “An agency has ‘wide discretion’ in making line-drawing decisions,” Henderson wrote.
     The federation additionally failed to show that gun dealers might not know what type of firearms ATF had in mind, the court found.
     “To argue, as NSSF does, that an FFL – who purchases and sells firearms for a living – would price and sell rifles without knowing its type of action and ammunition feeding source blinks reality,” Henderson wrote.
     The panel also discredited the federation’s claim that the demand letter was burdensome on the dealers.
     “The fact that an FFL chooses to keep his records in alphabetical or numerical order does not mean that the FFL can complain if his choice may not always be the least burdensome,” Henderson wrote.

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