Gun News: Proposed Bill Would End BATFE’s Border War

The Protecting the Second Amendment Act (S 1397), introduced June 21 by Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) and co-sponsored by Texas Republican Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, proposes to repeal a 2011 rule that Federal Firearms License holders in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas, report same-buyer purchases of two or more rifles during a five-day period to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE).

“The Obama administration demonstrated time and again a disturbing willingness to bypass the separation of powers and disregard Congress as a Constitutional watchdog,” Strange said in a statement. “Had the restrictions faced by lawful gun dealers in border states been applied to Alabama, many sportsmen, myself included, would have a difficult time practicing our hobby, and exercising our Constitutional rights.”

BATFE requires multiple sales of certain semi-automatic rifles greater than .22 caliber, and capable of accepting a detachable magazine, be reported if two or more are sold to the same individual during any five consecutive business days.

Gun industry trade groups opposed the data collection since it was imposed in August 2011, notes’s Chris Eger in a June 23 blog, pointing out that even after the BATFE inspected more than 2,000 FFLs in Texas and Arizona in 2011, no violations were uncovered.

The border state regulation was designed to gather intelligence to prevent gun trafficking into Mexico, according to BATFE and the Obama Administration. It was upheld by a federal court in 2014 after New Mexico FFL holders challenged the requirement, claiming the Gun Control Act of 1968 only requires tracking of multiple handgun sales.

Meanwhile, a group calling itself the Law Enforcement Coalition for Common Sense, has launched a lobbying effort to oppose “lax gun laws,” particularly the proposed Hearing Protection Act (HR 367), which proposes to lift restrictions on suppressors by eliminating a $200 transfer tax, and pre-empting state or local laws that regulate the accessory.

The Hearing Protection Act is part of the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE Act) and was scheduled for a hearing before the House Committee on Natural Resources on June 14. That hearing was delayed when House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and four others were shot and wounded by bitter ideologue James Hodgkinson at the GOP baseball team’s practice that same day in Alexandria, Va. That hearing has not been rescheduled.

The shooting prompted a number of Congressional lawmakers to file bills allowing U.S. senators and representatives to carry personal firearms regardless of local ordinances, or proposing to preempt the District of Columbia’s stringent anti-gun laws. Among them is Rep. Brian Babin’s (R-Texas) bill introduced on June 20 that will allow Congressional members to “supersede” concealed carry laws and have a gun with them for self-defense “in nearly every conceivable scenario.”

AWR Hawkins writes on on June 21 that the sudden interest in the right to carry among Congressional Republicans would “empower politicians while not helping all Americans.”

“This comes as Americans have been yearning for Congress to take up national reciprocity so that the common man can simply have a gun with him as he crosses state lines,” he writes. “Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) introduced national reciprocity (HR 38) on Jan. 3, 2016, and the common man has been waiting.”

By: John Haughey

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