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Fri, Feb. 28

Gun shops target new ATF requirement

A local gun store is part of a lawsuit against the federal government challenging a new reporting requirement for gun dealers in the Southwest.

In July, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives mandated gun stores in Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona to report information such as birth dates, addresses and the gender of people buying multiple semi-automatic rifles above .22 calibers in an attempt to curb weapons trafficking to Mexico.

Prescott-based J&G Sales and Yuma-based Foothills Firearms are plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the bureau, which they filed in district court in Washington. D.C.

Brad DeSaye, president of J&G Sales, said Friday morning that he believes the bureau is going too far with this new requirement.

"The ATF has no statutory authority whatsoever to do what they're doingm and it's discriminatory," he said. "It's definitely going to cost us time and money and unfortunately, the way the ATF runs their agency, there's going to be a lot of things done with the information that should not be done."

An Associated Press story explained that the requirement follows the contentious 2009 law enforcement operation in Arizona known as "Fast and Furious," resulting in thousands of high-powered weapons getting into Mexico as law enforcement personnel went after people buying guns for cartels.

Both gun shops state in the complaint that they received letters on July 12 directing them to provide information on anyone buying two or more semi-automatic rifles within five consecutive business days to the bureau effective Aug. 14.

The National Rifle Association is financially supporting the lawsuit, which only seeks to stop the bureau from enforcing it, according to the story.

The requirement impacts nearly 8,500 federally licensed firearms dealers, according to the complaint.

The shops argue the requirement will inflict "irreparable" harm such as economic loss in the form of employee time and alienated consumers.

Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA, sent out a statement blasting President Barack Obama and the bureau.

"This scheme will unjustly burden law-abiding retailers in border states," he said. "It will not affect drug cartels and it won't prevent violence along our borders. ATF and the administration lacks the statutory authority to do this."

On Tuesday, the Second Amendment Foundation gave its support to the lawsuit against the bureau in a news release.

"Trying to thwart gun-running is what the new regulation is purportedly all about, but it appears ATF is largely responsible for creating a problem they now want to solve by penalizing gun dealers and buyers with more paperwork," said Alan Gottlieb, executive vice president of the foundation.

Gottlieb said the bureau is treating dealers and gun owners differently than in other states.

"The burden of responsibility for preventing such activities should not be placed on the shoulders of firearms retailers who have habitually alerted the ATF to suspicious purchases," he said.

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