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To Combat Gun Trafficking, ATF Ask Dealers To Report Sales Of Semi-Automatic Rifles

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"The international expansion and increased violence of transnational criminal networks pose a significant threat to the United States," Deputy Attorney General James Cole said in a statement.

"This new reporting measure -- tailored to focus only on multiple sales of these types of rifles to the same person within a five-day period -- will improve the ability of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to detect and disrupt the illegal weapons trafficking networks responsible for diverting firearms from lawful commerce to criminals and criminal organizations," Cole said.

Cole said the "targeted information requests" would occur in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas. The administration sought comments on the rule in the Federal Register in April.

"Federal, state and foreign law enforcement agencies have determined that certain types of semi-automatic rifles - greater than .22 caliber and with the ability to accept a detachable magazine - are highly sought after by dangerous drug trafficking organizations and frequently recovered at violent crime scenes near the Southwest Border," Cole said.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) quickly slammed the new measure, calling it the "height of hypocrisy for the Obama administration to restrict the gun rights of border state citizens, when the administration itself knowingly and intentionally allowed guns to be trafficked into Mexico."

"Limiting the second amendment rights of law abiding citizens is not going to solve the problem of guns being trafficked into Mexico," Smith said in a statement. "An additional reporting requirement won't stop drug cartels from getting weapons. This rule unfairly punishes citizens in Border States who have the right to purchase firearms to protect themselves and their families from dangerous drug traffickers and human smugglers."

Obama's Justice Department also plans to introduce a new electronic system that will make background checks for handgun buyers simpler and faster and has imposed tougher sentencing guidelines for "straw buyers," the Daily Beast reports.