Saturday, February 5, 2011

White House Delays "Two-A-Day" Implementation - Again

The White House has again delayed implementation of the multiple rifle purchase reporting requirement in the Southwest border states. According to an article in the Washington Post, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has extended the comment period until February 14th to give the public more time to comment on the proposal.
Meg Reilly, spokeswoman for the Office of Management and Budget, said the decision follows President Obama's directive to curb excessive regulation and "is consistent with the president's call for more transparency and opportunities for public participation in his recent executive order."
ATF had planned to use a demand letter requiring the reporting of multiple sales within a 5-day period.  It would require the reporting of sales of semi-auto rifles with a caliber greater than .22 which also had detachable magazines. This emergency requirement would have only applied to FFL's in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. ATF hoped to get OMB approval for their "pilot project" by early January.

Requiring the reporting of multiple semi-auto rifle sales was a suggestion in the Department of Justice Inspector General's report on Operation Gunrunner. At the time, ATF Deputy Director Kenneth Melson said he was unsure whether the Bureau had the authority under the Gun Control Act of 1968 to require this.

As I posted in early January at the first delay, it seems that pressure from gun rights groups and Congress was behind the first delay. Three Senators and 35 Congressmen have sent the White House a letter opposing the requirement. I have no doubt that this sort of pressure was behind the second delay of the mult-rifle reporting requirement.

ATF was thrown a bone by the OMB when proposed budget cuts of over 12% to the agency's budget were restored.
ATF received good news earlier in the week, however, when the OMB made an unusual announcement that ATF had won a budget battle. Early budget documents obtained by The Washington Post showed that ATF would get a cut of nearly $160 million out of a $1.25 billion budget request - a 12.8 percent reduction that would be 3.6 percent below the current budget.

"Even as we make tough choices across the government," Reilly said, "the 2012 budget includes robust support for Southwest border security, including an increase above current funding levels for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives."
I am sure that ATF cares more about their budget than they do about Mexico, Mexican cartels, and semi-auto rifles crossing the border. Can you say "Operation Gunwalker"? Money, not effectiveness, is the life blood of any modern bureaucracy.

In the meantime, we have until Valentine's Day to send comments about the multiple-rifle reporting requirement. Let's use it. NSSF has suggestions on what to include in your letter here. Make sure to send a copy to your Senators and Congressman as well.

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