US Gun Dealers on Mexico Border Must Report Multiple Sales

A ruling by a US judge on tracking the sale of high-powered firearms in states on the southern border is a step forward for authorities trying to legislate against the flow of guns into Mexico.

Federal Judge Rosemary Collyer upheld an order made last year by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The ATF asked more than 8,000 gun dealers in Arizona, Texas, California and New Mexico to report sales of multiple semi-automatic rifles to one individual within five business days, reported Reuters.

The ruling is likely to be welcomed by Mexican and US officials who have decried the lack of laws to control arms trafficking. Gun retailers, and the National Rifle Association (NRA) argued the new law will do little, with the NRA’s executive vice-president stating, “These drug cartels … rape, they rob, they murder … they’re not going to be deterred by a form.”

Collyer’s decision came one day after a report in the LA Times suggested the ATF was facing controversy with its operation “White Gun.” It allegedly suffered similar logistical failures to the “Fast and Furious” operation, which allowed the sale of weapons to suspected traffickers in order to track them, but saw some 2,000 weapons go missing.

ATF officials declined to comment on whether any weapons had been lost under White Gun.

InSight Crime Analysis

The ruling is a rare victory for the ATF and the Obama administration in its battle to reign in gun trafficking across the Mexican border.

It will allow the ATF to better police the US weapons stores that indirectly supply Mexico’s cartels with many of their firearms. It will also permit the Obama administration to tell the Mexican government that it is doing something to slow the flow of these weapons.

However, the ATF and the government will continue to face scrutiny from gun advocates, especially if they win more victories like this.