The Washington Post:

White House budget officials dealt federal firearms investigators a setback Friday when they rejected an emergency request for a rule meant to help catch gunrunners to Mexico. 

The decision delays for at least two months a proposed requirement that gun dealers along the Mexican border report anyone who buys two or more assault weapons in five days. White House officials said the delay will give the public more time – until Feb. 14 – to comment on the proposal.

Meg Reilly, spokeswoman for the Office of Management and Budget, said the decision follows President Obama’s directive to curb excessive regulation and “is consistent with the president’s call for more transparency and opportunities for public participation in his recent executive order.”

The delay marks the second time that the rule, which is strongly opposed by the gun industry and the National Rifle Association, has been put on hold. The idea was shelved by then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel last year and was not reconsidered until after the midterm congressional elections.

Officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had hoped the reporting requirement would help them track gunrunners – people such as accused trafficker Sean Christopher Steward, a 28-year-old Phoenix man who purchased more than 100 AK-47s in a single month.

Steward is one of 34 people charged last week with trafficking about 700 firearms to Mexico. Over two days in early December 2009, Steward purchased 50 assault weapons at two stores. Then, on Christmas Eve, he purchased another 40 at a store in Glendale, Ariz. ATF investigators believe the weapons were meant to arm the Sinoloa drug cartel.

ATF officials requested the rule on an emergency basis after more than 30,000 people have been killed and more than 65,000 guns from the United States have been seized during the Mexican government’s war with the drug cartels.

This week, Mexico’s National Security Council secretary, Alejandro Poire Romero, expressed his concern about U.S. officials’ commitment to stopping guns from crossing the border. In an interview, he said, “We need an overwhelming response to prevent these cartels from buying guns in the United States.

Is this a case where 2nd amendment rights are not supreme?  What can be done to cut down on the gun running across the border?   It sounds like Obama is protecting gun rights at the expense of border security.


43 Thoughts to “White House delays gun reporting requirement along Mexican border”

  1. If I’m not mistaken, the ATF was not given authority to record long gun sales in the 1934 firearms act, only handguns, as per the 1934 Firearms act. From here:

    The regulation proposed is outside the statutory grant of authority to record information about multiple sales of firearms. Title 18 U.S.C. § 923(g)(3)(A) specifically grants the authority to collect multiple sale information on handguns and revolvers. Other firearms are excluded and there is no implied authority to extend this reporting requirement to rifles or any other type of firearm.

    * ”FFL” holders are already required by law to respond to BATFE requests for information on firearms distribution pursuant to criminal investigations: Title 18 U.S.C. § 923(g)(7).

    * The regulation contains no provision for the destruction of information collected, which establishes a nationwide registry of “certain types of firearms” as proposed. Because of this the regulation as proposed is illegal under Title 18 U.S.C. § 926(a). ”No such rule or regulation … may require that records required to be maintained under this chapter or any portion of the contents of such records, be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or disposition be established.”

    This recording requirement would be a back-door registration. Besides, the ATF seems to have no problem letting rifles go south:

    Want to cut down gun-running across the border?
    1) reform or stop the war on drugs.
    2) convince Mexico to allow their citizens to own guns and let them defend themselves
    3) Stop arming the Mexican military and police, the source of many of the guns
    4) Build that fence. Put our military on the border.

    The ATF is not seeking approval from Congress but from another government agency. I don’t believe things work that way. The cartels are not buying the bulk of their weaponry from gun shops in the US. They want automatic weapons. If they can smuggle tons of drugs, assault rifles and submachine guns are simple to smuggle. They also get their guns from military defecting or “losing” their weapons.

  2. More on the “GunWalker” scandal:

    It seems to me, from the article above, that the authorities were able to track and catch the smugglers without any new authority. The ATF has always wanted more and more authority to restrict and track firearms.

  3. “the ATF was not given authority to record long gun sales in the 1934 firearms act, only handguns,”

    Sorry, let me rephrase. The ATF was given authority in 1968. Firearms legislation covered handguns, but not rifles in the 1934 law. Combined the two into one.

    Here’s an admittedly biased, but nonetheless accurate history of the ATF.

    There’s a reason why the ATF was involved in Waco the way it was. And its the same reason that its making waves now. It needs publicity and funding and finally has a sympathetic administration.

  4. I figured you would be all over this one, Cargo.

  5. @Moon-howler
    Well, I don’t mind being predictable for the right reasons. Thought that I would try and give you some information and links about the current issues.

  6. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Having actual protection (which implies two-way) along our border would help remedy a situation like this. I might also help with the drugs coming in, too!

  7. So Slowpoke, what are those 6,000 border agents doing down there?

  8. @Moon-howler
    I can answer that. Working their collective butts off. And its still not enough. 6000 agents. 2000 mile border. 2 shifts. Do the math.

    They are hamstrung by PC. Their management does not support them. The illegal aliens swarm them, shoot at them, throw rocks at them, and make no go areas for them. State parks are declared off limits to Americans.

    We are still treating this invasion too lightly.

    1. @Cargo, how much of that is actual fact and now much is being trumped up like organizatons like FAIR?

      Is this an area where you would increase spending? Is any military down there now?

  9. I wouldn’t increase spending. I would re-allocate spending. And I would allow the National Guard to enforce the border. So, yes, in that way, spending would increase. I don’t know of any military down there now, and what has been there in the past has been unarmed and in offices. Not on the border. When I mean enforcing the border, I mean put some infantry on the ground, go into the national parks down there, and roust the bad guys. Coordinate with LEO and arrest the bad guys. And if the bad guys cross the border, armed…kill them. If shots are fired towards our agents, return fire. Coordinate more closely with the Mexican authorities, if we can.

    I’m not sure what you mean with your question about fact or trumped up. I don’t know anything about FAIR.

    I presented what I found. What I know, you now are more familiar with……there are other sources with similar takes. Just didn’t want to completely swamp your site with links. some redundant.

    The point I was trying to make is that the ATF is over-reaching its assigned authority. There is some gun smuggling going on, as there always has been. If one can smuggle drugs north, guns can go south. But the law is another one which will not PREVENT arms going south. Unless the ATF is going to swoop down on every person buying 2 or more arms and investigate, they will be acting after the buyer walks out with the guns. Remember, the dealers can call the ATF at any time if they have suspicions.

    And the “Gun Walker” scandal has reached the Senate where senators are starting to ask the ATF to respond. And so far, the senators are getting stonewalled.

    This isn’t about making it harder for the cartels to get guns. Any smuggling from straw purchases at the gun shops is small potatoes. The cartels get their weapons from other sources. Fully automatic weapons. And the statistic that the weapons are American? Who do you think has been supplying the governments down there with small arms for the last 100 years.

  10. So who do they get their American guns from? Why hasn’t someone turned them in if they know this much?

    The federal government cannot put the National Guard anywhere. It has to be the governor. That was one of the problems after Katrina, wasn’t it?

    I have no problem shooting drug smugglers.

  11. marinm

    Cargo’s point is that the guns in Mexico come from the US Government and less from the US civilian market.

    The ATF doesn’t need this new authority as it serves no useful purpose.

  12. Are you telling me that the US govt is selling guns to Mexico? Not sure I believe that.

  13. marinm

    I think I should’ve chosen my words better. 🙂

    What I meant to say was that the majority of guns in Mexico come legally from exports from American companies that sell weapons to the Mexican military (with govt approval). But, because the cartels tend to pay better than the Mexican government you have an issue where soldiers defect and also sell arms to the cartels.

    The connection between the drug cartels and the Mexican army has given cartel leaders access to military grade weapons like the high powered Five-Seven semi-automatic pistols.

    A favorite with the cartels, the Five-Seven has the advantage of being light: under 2 pounds, with a 20-round clip filled with bullets the cartels call “matapolicias’ — “cop killers.”

    “The 5.7 x 28, armor piercing (AP) rounds are not available for sale to the general public and are probably coming from the Mexican military,” said Stewart who has analyzed U.S.-Mexican border security issues for half a decade.

    The US is a major supplier of arms all over the world. I think that market is up even during our recession. 😉

  14. marinm

    I think putting a burden on American citizens so that Mexico can some how maintain it’s “gun free zone” of a country is simply not logical. They have laws in Mexico – let them enforce them. We have laws in the US covering straw purchases. Let those existing laws do the work.

    Maybe less guns would cross the border if both sides….enforced the border. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  15. I hope you guys are enjoying this gun thread. :mrgreen:

    I did it just for you all. I can’t argue with you though. I don’t know enough to have much of an opinion.

  16. marinm

    Does that mean we can have your vote when it comes to the government trying to BAN our guns and TAKE em away from us??? :mrgreen:

    I can add you to my 40+ email distro list anytime I smell a gun control law in Virginia or Congress. 😉

  17. NO.

    Remember, I do not think the right to bear arms is unlimited.

  18. @Moon-howler
    That’s ok. In fact, many gun “nuts” feel that way. However, its WHERE the restrictions are placed that are important. The problem is defining what is reasonable and then determining the logical chain of effects based upon those restrictions.

    Me? “shall not be infringed” works for me. If you’re too dangerous to be armed, you are too dangerous to be on the streets.

  19. Unfortunately, we find out just how dangerous some people are AFTER they have been armed to the teeth. Some of us aren’t willing to follow that sequence of events.

    So are you willing to arm children and convicted felons and the mentally ill?

  20. marinm

    That’s a “loaded” question. 🙂

    The law allows for youth to be armed and use arms in legal ways in the vast majority of states. And, even when the law doesn’t allow it the law will cede when a youth takes up an arm in immediate self defense of him/herself or the defense of another.

    Let’s define metal illness. As I pointed out – a battered woman may not “qualify” for legal access to firearms. Should she be restricted under our mental health laws? As Tuscon has shown us.. all the laws on the books won’t help if people don’t use the existing laws to find a person help or to have someone looked at that is in obvious distress.

    When we talk about gun control on the whole the two major reasons that I see it as a failure in the court of public opinion.

    1. Crime rates are way down in the last 20 years and civilian gun ownership has skyrocketed during that time.

    2. The average person may not WANT a gun, may not care about ever shooting a gun, or may not buy into the idea that we somehow may need guns to protect ourselves from the government —– but if they ever WANTED to buy a gun they’d always want that CHOICE.

    3. People recognize that it’s almost always bad people doing bad things not good people doing bad things with regards to gun crime.

    Gun control is a loser in the political arena. The only people that want to touch it are democrats or RINOs in “safe” districts where they won’t be voted out for being against the Constitution.

    1. Today its a loser. Tomorrow you all who see no restrictions at all might not be so lucky. Things change.

      Not all deaths by gun are from crime being commited or by nut cases. Careless, drunkeness, and leaving guns unsecured also accounts for injuries and death.

      Many of us encourage common sense laws, or what to moderates is common sense. I find it amusing how this issue also reduces to binary thinking amongst some folks. How many gun owners have you talked to that don’t mind being limited to one gun a month?

  21. marinm

    There are more than a few people that I’ve spoken to AND otherwise consider as friends who would trade some gun rights as a ‘good will offering’ so that the gun rights they DO like aren’t touched. Appeasement does not work. The gun banners want them all gone and to disarm us all.

    Careless and drunk people may steal keys from a person but we don’t put the person leaving those keys on a kitchen table with a felony.

    You are right.. Things change. Maybe we can get constitutional carry authorized. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  22. DB

    Isn’t the problem that money and guns are smuggled INTO Mexico and drugs and people are smuggled INTO the US? I used to wonder what the border agents did, but after a couple of seasons of Border Wars (Nat Geo) I now have a very good idea of how much they do and how much more manpower is required to deal with the various areas along the border. The show has definitely been an eye opener. Not only do border agents have to be vigilant when it comes to those entering the US, they have to be just as much for those going to Mexico. On one episode of the show, it was mentioned that along the CA border check point, 25,000 pedestrians and 30,000 vehicles cross the border each day, and the border agents only have the manpower to check a fraction of those who cross.

    And it was also mentioned that there is a problem with stores in Laredo, TX that sell replicas of Mexican police and security forces uniforms which are often purchased by cartel mebers and used to commit crimes in Mexico.

  23. Cato the Elder

    You know, I was just wondering why we don’t have a Castle Doctrine in Virginia… Seems kind of odd that states like Massachusetts, California and Illinois have it yet we don’t.

  24. marinm

    Cato, I can answer that in more depth later but know that case law supports Castle Doctrine in as much as you can use force against force to defend life if you are not the agressor. But, when I have more time — I’ll give you more info.

  25. Cato the Elder

    Isn’t there still a duty to retreat in Virginia?

  26. not if you are marin. He will shoot whoever it is deader than a door nail.

    He must be headed to a super bowl party.

  27. marinm

    The beatle commercial was AWE…SOME. I’m lazy and busy atm but check out that link and look for the section for duty to retreat and self defense.

    “[A] person assaulted while in the discharge of a lawful act, and reasonably apprehending that his assailant will do him bodily harm, has the right to repel the assault by all the force he deems necessary, and is not compelled to retreat from his assailant, but may, in turn, become the assailant, inflicting bodily wounds until his person is out of danger.”


    “One, in his own curtilage, who is free from fault in bringing on the combat, when attacked by another, has the same right of conduct, without any retreat (i. e. to stand at bay and resist as fault), even to the taking of life, that one has when within his own home. See note to 5 Am. & Eng. Anno. Cas. 999 and cases cited, among them Beard v. United States, 158 U.S. 550, 15 S. Ct. 962, 39 L. Ed. 1086, approved in Alberty v. United States, 162 U.S. 499, 16 S. Ct. 864, 40 L. Ed. 1051.

    Basically it boils down to (I’m not a lawyer so YMMV) if you have a legal right to be somewhere in Virginia and through no fault of your own you are attacked you may use force upon force. Self defense is justified homicide so you are admitting you killed someone but that you had good reason.

    MH, I’m taking that as a funny and not a slam on me. 😉

    Anyone that crosses me and I have to raise metal against them…killed themselves. I just carried the bullet.

    FWIW, you want a mindbender. The law for carrying a firearm into a Virginia church is.. ‘without good and sufficient reason’. A lot of people interpret that as ‘carry for self-defense’. ..shrug. It’s upto a court to figure out the facts afterwards…………

    This game is getting GOOD.

    1. I wasn’t slamming you, marin. You are right. I was being a smart ass. I think I wanted to just say ‘deader than a doornail.’ Why are doornails dead?

  28. marinm

    In Maryland and DC residents have a Duty to Die. Our lower crime rate in Virginia is because we have no duty to retreat. 😉

  29. @Moon-howler
    Marin covered the mentally ill and the children. Since most dangerous mentally ill, unless adjudicated to be a danger to themselves and others can still buy weapons, the law won’t stop them. Fix that problem and less crazies get guns.

    As for convicted felons, yes. There are procedures to restore their rights. Include the RKBA among them. They have the same right to self-defense as anyone else. Also, some studies have shown that the number of felonies on the books have grown so much that many Americans commit felonies every day without realizing it. Many of our felons are those that were caught with pot early in life. Some committed other non-violent crimes. Why ban gun ownership on all felons. If we must, break it down according to crimes.

    If the ex-convict is too dangerous to be legally armed, why is he on the street. A gun is an inanimate object. Its the improper USE that should be penalized. IF a previously convicted felon commits another crime, especially using a gun, hammer him. HARD. Tack on decades of sentence. We already have Project EXILE that adds 5 years in a federal prison for any use of a firearm in a crime. We have 3 strikes and no parole. And the death penalty. Felons that want guns will get guns. Might as well let those that need them for lawful purposes get them legally. Just think how much simpler those background checks would be. Especially since very few have ever been arrested for attempting to buy a gun after being blocked by the check.

  30. I wasn’t suggesting that we deny all convicted felons guns. I was asking a question. In an age where many people are out serving their time through alternative methods (ankle security, etc) or sentences are cut short because of prison overcrowding.

    I thought it was an appropriate question.

  31. @Moon-howler
    It was a very appropriate question. I answered it to cover all the bases that I could. As of right now, the majority of, if not all, felons are prohibited.

    I’m curious as to what you would consider common sense regulations. I ask because that “common sense” term is used by the gun control crowd, but we 2nd Amendment guys can’t ever get them to come clean on what they actually mean. I’m not putting you in that category as its not one of your……passions.

    I know that you seem to support “one gun per month.” Anything else?

  32. marinm

    From the same page linked above:

    “[The legislature] in enacting criminal statutes legislates against a background of Anglo-Saxon common law . . . .” Part of this common law is the doctrine of self-defense. . . . [S]tatutes rarely enumerate the defenses to the crimes they describe. . . . We do not believe that [the legislature] intended to make [convicted felons] hapless targets for assassins. The right to defend oneself from deadly attack is fundamental. [The legislature] did not contemplate that [Code 18.2-308.2] would divest convicted felons of that right….Further, as the Commonwealth acknowledges, “[t]he fact that a man has been drinking does not ipso facto deprive him of the right of self-defense, even though the necessity for the exercise of the right might not have arisen had neither he nor his aggressor been drinking.”

    Even felons don’t have a duty to die in the Commonwealth. We recognize that even if a felon is “not allowed to own or have a gun” that if he’s attacked and must meet force with force we will excuse the violation so that he may save his own life. Same when a child picks up the family shotgun and plugs an intruder. The law should not prevent Junior from grabbing that arm because his fear of going to jail trumps the fear of his losing his life. I think we’re all smart enough to recognize that. 🙂

    Interestingly I got a VA-ALERT last night about self-defense (maybe they were reading this thread)

    Over the last year or so the media has been up in arms about two cases where someone claimed self-defense after they shot a thief. In each case, the citizen was able to convince the prosecutor that he was in fear for his life when he shot because the suspect lunged, possibly towards a weapon.

    Those two cases were both in the Tidewater area. One case involved a store owner standing outside his business trying to stop a burglar inside the business and the other a retired police officer stopping the theft of a dog kennel from his yard.

    Remember that under Virginia law you are NOT allowed to use **deadly** force to protect **property.** However, if you are trying to stop the theft without the use of deadly force and you suddenly find yourself in a position where you could be grievously hurt or killed, then can you can respond with deadly force. It is generally a **very bad** idea to shoot at a fleeing criminal.

    The Richmond Commonwealth Attorney takes a much harder line on self-defense and prosecuted a man, Eric Driver, last year for shooting a thief who had broken into his girlfriend’s car. Driver, too, claimed that the thief lunged, but to no avail. Driver’s charges were downgraded to voluntary manslaughter at trial and he did not serve any time – both of which shocked the prosecutor.

    I recall a Dunkin Donut manager in Richmond that shot a burgler.. Guy came in and robbed the place and on his way out said something like “if any of you call the cops I’ll come back and kill you” prompting the manager to pull his handgun and shot the thief in the back 9-13 times. The Richmond prosecutor wanted to fry the guy as he wasn’t in immediate danger (as the guy was leaving) but the jury refused to hand down an indictment.

    Overall I think you don’t want to get yourself in a position where you are judged but if you do there are plenty of Virginian’s that understand the difference between bad guys and good guys.

    Fun thread but I don’t think I’ll really ‘change’ anyones minds. But, understand that the laws regarding guns are crazy complicated and are always changing.

  33. @Cargosquid
    To make sure someone doesn’t try to invoke Posse Comitatus, perhaps we should declare war on Mexico, deeming it a lawless state, and then we could put troops returning from Iraq on the border and then we could open a can of real “Whup Ass” since these guys are already fired up.

  34. Moon–government can put National Guard just about anywhere it wants–it has to nationalize it first.

  35. @George S. Harris
    Actually, the governors can use National Guard to enforce the peace under emergency powers. I would say that having this many people coming across a border illegally is an emergency.

    I would also suspend Posse Comitatus for certain areas where needed. We don’t need to go to war with Mexico. We need Mexico to help enforce the border. They can block the gun smuggling going their way and we can stop stuff coming north.

    1. @Cargo, but who will pay for it? They are already strapped for cash.

  36. marinm

    Ugh. Don’t suspend Posse Comitatus….. What I want to see is a border governor with the rocks to call up the unorganized state militia. Have civilian doctors, housewives, store owners, students, retail workers all report for required military duty with the state guard. Give them a crash course on military discipline and marksmenship and then send them to the border for duty. You’d only need to do it for a few days for a national dialogue on how badly border defense is needed and then the citizen-soldiers can be sent back home.

  37. @Moon-howler
    If its important enough, as Gov. Brewer seems to think, then SHE will. And since it IS one of the constitutionally mandated duties of the federal government, its paid for out of the military budget.

    THAT would get conversations going, except everyone might get a letter and either throw it away or go, “Huh?”

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