Even as it finds itself embroiled in a scandal that saw weapons being deliberately sent to criminal gangs in Mexico, the ATF has issued a letter ordering firearms dealers in border states to report sales of two or more semi-automatic rifles, and is following it up by harassing gun owners with intimidating home visits as well as threatening gun dealers to spy on their customers.
As the Justice Department announced earlier this month, “All gun shops in four Southwest border states (Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico) will be required to alert the federal government to frequent buyers of high-powered rifles.”
The ATF letter also orders gun dealers to report to the feds sales of “two or more pistols or revolvers, or any combination of pistols or revolvers totaling two or more.”
The letter, which was subsequently sent out to gun dealers and has since entered the public domain, orders firearms retailers to “Submit to ATF reports of multiple sales or other dispositions whenever, at one time or during any five consecutive business days, you sell to an unlicensed person or otherwise dispose of two or more semi-automatic rifles capable of accepting a detachable magazine and with a caliber greater than .22 (including .223/5.56 caliber).” The directive takes effect from August 14, 2011.
However, what the federal agency isn’t keen to make public is how its agents are using these reports to make threatening home visits to firearms owners, while ordering gun store owners to become de facto informants by telling them to spy on their customers.