As House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) probes Project Gunrunner — the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) effort aimed at combating gun trafficking on the Mexican border that went awry — the Obama administration is seeking another round of comments on a controversial proposal to make gun dealers in four border states report sales of multiple rifles.Under the proposed rule, gun dealers would have to report sales of two or more rifles to an individual at one time or during a period of five business days if the rifles are semi-automatic, with a caliber greater than .22 and detachable magazines, Reuter‘s Jeremy Pelofsky reports. The Obama administration’s proposal, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, will be published in the government’s Federal Register on Friday.
Dealers are already required to report multiple sales of handguns — the proposal would simply expand those rules to sales of the types of long guns preferred by Mexican drug cartels.
The proposal was previously published in the Federal Register in December and garnered nearly 13,000 responses in 60 days, according to Reuters. Around 30 percent of the comments were in opposition to the rule while 70 percent were in favor, according to ATF.
But the rule faces strong opposition from the National Rifle Association (NRA), which is holding its annual convention in Pittsburgh this weekend. Republicans in the House had tried to place an amendment in the continuing resolution bill which would have banned ATF from collecting data on gun sales in border states, but that proposal didn’t make it through negotiations.
Meanwhile, congressional investigators are on the ground in Arizona as part of the investigation into how ATF officials involved with Project Gunrunner allowed guns to “walk” across the Mexican border. According to CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson:
They’re gathering interviews from witnesses, including ATF insiders and area gun shop owners. Sources tell CBS News the congressional investigators are frustrated by what they view as across-the-board stonewalling by government agencies which have refused to provide information in the investigation. Government officials have said they won’t provide information while their own investigations are ongoing.
Issa has already threatened contempt proceedings against ATF for not cooperating with their requests, but the Justice Department said they have made documents available to investigators at DOJ headquarters.