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Rehberg Amendment to Block Unauthorized Record Keeping on Gun Owners Passes in U.S. House Committee on Appropriations

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fairfax, Va. – Congressman Denny Rehberg’s  (Mont.) amendment to prohibit the use of funds for a new and unauthorized multiple sales reporting and registration plan proposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has passed by a vote of 30 to 19.

“The ATF reporting scheme not only violates the privacy of gun owners, but it also exceeds the statutory authority granted to the agency by Congress.  In addition, it has had no effect battling Mexican drug cartel violence,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director for NRA's Institute for Legislative Action.  “The NRA strongly supported this vital amendment.  On behalf of our members, we would like to thank Congressman Rehberg for his continued support of the Second Amendment and his advocacy of effective solutions to fighting crime and violence.”

The ATF “demand letters” require the 8,500 firearm dealers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to file reports with ATF on all sales of two or more semi-automatic rifles within five consecutive business days, if the rifles are larger than .22 caliber and can accept detachable magazines.  This would include many of today’s most popular rifles, owned by millions of Americans for self-defense, hunting and other lawful purposes.

The NRA believes that ATF has no legal authority to demand these reports.  Congress has specifically required reports only of multiple handgun sales, and has therefore implicitly rejected reporting requirements for other firearms. 

Regardless of this program, ATF has full access to every record of every firearm transaction by every licensed dealer, whether during a bona fide criminal investigation or simply to enforce compliance with record keeping requirements.  Given that fact, the flood of new reports that would be generated by this proposal will waste scarce law enforcement resources that should be used for legitimate investigations. 

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Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America's oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.