On May 31, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the Obama administration policy that requires federally licensed firearms retailers in states bordering Mexico to report multiple sales of certain semi-automatic rifles. The case, National Shooting Sports Foundation v. Jones, was brought by two NRA-backed firearms retailers and the National Shooting Sports Foundation acting on behalf of its members in the Southwest.
The requirement imposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives forces all licensed firearm dealers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to report all sales of two or more semi-automatic rifles within five consecutive business days, if the rifles are larger than .22 caliber and use detachable magazines.
In its decision, the panel argued that ATF’s use of “demand letters” to seek this information is legitimate, even though the law only allows ATF to issue letters demanding “information required to be kept” under the Gun Control Act—not information such as action type that is not “required to be kept.” The panel also held that the reporting requirement is “limited,” even though it applies to every licensed firearm retailer in four large states.
Two other NRA-supported cases challenging the registration scheme are still on appeal in the Fifth and Tenth Circuits.