Citing the need to curb border violence, under the pilot program that could start as soon as next month, dealers in Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico would have to inform the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives of any sales of two or more rifles, including assault weapons.
The Feds say this will allow them to track any weapon that may be falling into the wrong hands, but dealers, like Jim Pruett of Jim Pruett’s Guns and Ammo, call the proposal a back door effort to implement gun registration.
“It goes on record with the ATF forever. There’s no mention of purging the system. So what you basically have is ad-hoc gun registration,” says Pruett. “That happened in Germany and Hitler used it very well to pick up all the weapons when he decided to take over.”
However, Dennis Henigan, Vice President of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence says there is no doubt that trafficking is happening out of gun shops and this program will greatly assist law enforcement officials.
“This is just a common sense tool that will give Federal law enforcement authorities timely information about when a person buys large numbers of these high capacity rifles,” Henigan says. “That’s a red flag that gun trafficking is going on.”
But Pruett discounts that notion and says putting the blame on dealers is just political spin.
“A lot of people say gun stores, individual gun stores like mine, supply the Mexican cartel. That is so ridiculous to even think about that,” says Pruett. “The Mexican cartel doesn’t have a money problem. They have more money than a lot of countries.”
Despite concerns from dealers, Ladd Everitt, Director of Communications with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence says based on all the data that exists, this program would have a positive impact.
“There are reports that cartel members are becoming more bold and aggressive in the way they handle customs officials and border officials in the area,” Everitt says. “I think it very well could cut down on violence on both sides of the border.”
Opencarry.org Co-Founder John Pierce blasts the move as just another example of an attempt at federalism.
“These type of regulations are primarily designed to act as a behind the scenes tax,” says Pierce. “You’ve got an agency who is imposing additional data collection costs on a gun dealer and gun dealers themselves will then have to turn around and pass that on to law-abiding gun owners.”
If the Feds go through with their plan, gun dealers would have to notify the ATF of sales of two or more semi-automatic rifles to one person within a five-day period.