The Department of Justice has issued new rules regarding the sale of multiple semi-automatic firearms in the four states that share a border with Mexico. The new policy takes effect immediately. It requires licensed firearms dealers in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California to report multiple sales of certain types of firearms within a period of 5 business days.
The guns that would trigger a report are semi-automatic rifles greater than .22 caliber that accept detachable magazines.
These types of rifles are favored by criminal organizations that have been battling each other and authorities in Mexico’s ongoing drug war. The rationale behind the new rule is that it will allow ATF field agents to identify possible straw-purchasers; people who buy weapons legally but then pass them on to criminals.
The order comes as the scandal over the ATF’s “Fast and Furious” program seems poised to expand to other federal agencies.
The new rule apparently does not require reporting the large scale purchase of high-caliber ammunition – nor does it close the so-called “gun show loophole” which permits the unregulated sale and purchase of firearms by individuals at gun shows.
The National Rifle Association has already promised it will sue to block the rule.