Here is an excerpt from Stephen Clark's article on FOX News.com:
"The Obama administration's plan to force new reporting requirements on thousands of gun dealers near the Mexico border is under fire from members of his own party. At least three Democrats in the Senate and several more in the House are voicing opposition to a proposed regulation from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that would require about 8,500 gun dealers in four states – California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas – to report gun sales of two or more high-powered rifles sold within five consecutive business days... The new regulation would cover semiautomatic rifles greater than .22 caliber with detachable magazines. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, has asked the ATF to withdraw its request to the White House for emergency authority to enact the regulation. While I understand the importance of cracking down on violence and gun trafficking along the U.S.-Mexico border, this wide-reaching regulation would punish law-abiding American gun owners and impede their Second Amendment rights," Begich wrote in a letter last week to ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson. "Instead, we must secure our border and target Mexican drug cartels, as well as participating offenders in the United States." The ATF has rejected the notion that its regulation will violate Second Amendment rights or impose burdensome paperwork on gun dealers... Scott Thomasson, the chief spokesman for ATF, told FoxNews.com that the agency is pushing for this new regulation now because since 2004, there's been a 100 percent increase by Mexican drug cartels using rifles, which are not covered by any reporting requirements." Link to Full Article
Analysis: My best friend always tells me I shouldn't write blog posts - or anything else for that matter - when I'm mad. I totally understand the reasoning; I'm an analyst after all, and work pretty hard to maintain a level head and examine all sides of an issue. But when I read articles like this, it's really hard for me to keep my blood from boiling, and I'll explain why.
My regular readers know I'm not anti-gun; quite the opposite. I was a military law enforcement agent for over eight years, and got pretty attached to both my Beretta 9mm, and later my SigSauer P228 after my agency switched over. I currently have a SigSauer P250 that converts from a 9mm to a .40-caliber, as well as a Mossberg 10-gauge shotgun with a breacher tip on the barrel that I'm completely in love with. When I bought these guns, I almost wished the salesman at the store had asked for more information from me. I know I'm a law-abiding citizen, and I know that I plan to use these firearms for home defense. But what about the guy next to me? Or the guy next to him? Is asking for a driver's license and a filled-out ATF form enough? This is my VERY pro-law enforcement side coming out.
Some people would say even that's too intrusive, and the ATF is imposing too many measures that "impede their Second Amendment rights." This is where we take a look at the new proposed regulation that requires the reporting of two or more rifles being sold to the same person within five days. This requirement is already in place for handguns, folks. And yes, I imagine that die-hard NRA members HATE this requirement, and I'm hearing the "It's a slippery slope to having the government come seize all our guns" argument in my head. So, knowing that Mexican DTOs love their high-powered rifles that they so easily buy in the US through straw purchases, why is there so much drama surrounding the extension of an existing requirement to cover rifles?
I know why there's so much drama, and I can't wait (I say this sarcastically) for the deluge of gun fanatics who will comment on this post, saying it's too much government, Obama wants to take our guns away, etc. etc. I'd like to posit this question, in response to Senator Begich's statement. How does this proposed requirement "punish" law-abiding citizens? And furthermore, how does it impede Second Amendment rights? If you want to buy ten rifles over the course of three days, guess what? You can still do it! You won't get fined, sent to jail, get spoken to harshly, or tarred and feathered - just some examples of what I consider punishment. And you still get to buy your guns, which - from what I recall, anyway - is right in line with the Second Amendment. Many people tend to forget that the role guns play in the lives of Americans have less to do with the Second Amendment and more to do with federal and state laws, as well as case law determined by hundreds of court decisions over the last 234 years. I challenge Senator Begich to show me, from a legal perspective, how the proposed regulation impedes upon anyone's right to ultimately purchase or own as many firearms as they want.
Here's my bottom line. We need to figure out SOMETHING to more effectively investigate criminals who are trafficking guns from the US into Mexico. I think the proposed ATF requirement is a step in the right direction. I also think the NRA doesn't give a rat's behind about southbound weapons trafficking. The group gives the impression that it doesn't care what goes on south of the border as long as all Americans can buy guns whenever and wherever they want. That may not be the case, but perception is reality, and I think it's totally irresponsible to think we can just wash our hands of any association whatsoever with US-origin guns being used in the drug war. I wonder what the NRA will say when one of those guns is used to kill an American law enforcement officer.
I'm just tired of lobby groups and other people throwing around our Second Amendment rights like it spells out exactly what were entitled to when it comes to gun ownership. I think it gives us more mellow gun owners a bad name; kind of like people who burn flags or make a painting of the Virgin Mary with dog crap smeared on it, then invoke the First Amendment. The courts have been debating this forever, so who is Senator Begich to make the determination that the proposed regulation punishes Americans and steps all over the Second Amendment? Our law enforcement agencies have a HUGE job to do, and I'm just sick of politics and petty arguments getting in the way of that.
So, as they say, bring on the pain...I know it's coming.