Wednesday, 29 December 2010

ATF Considers Gun-sale Notification for Southern Border States

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ATF badgeThe Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (still known as ATF) is considering a pilot program that would require gun dealers in the borders states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California to report each sale of two or more rifles. Jim Pruett of Jim Pruett’s Guns and Ammo in Houston considers such a move simply a back door to gun registration. “It [would go] on record with the ATF forever,” Pruett says of the reported sales. “There’s no mention of purging the system.  So what you basically have is ad-hoc gun registration.”

It is hard to argue with Pruett’s logic. “Notification” is, for all intents and purposes, “registration.” And, as Pruett also pointed out, gun registration was used by the rulers in Nazi Germany (and in many other totalitarian regimes) to then confiscate the firearms and render the populace incapable of resisting tyranny.

The rationale for this federal usurpation of constitutional rights is that our border states are experiencing escalating crime and violence from Mexico. Though that is undeniable, it is foolish to think that reporting each sale of two or more rifles will in any way inhibit the perpetrators of that violence — Mexican drug cartels. The drugs lords possess huge amounts of money and access to whatever sort of weapons they wish, regardless of what American federal law requires.  Indeed, as these Latin American cartels have mustered what are effectively armies, their purchasing rifles from a legitimate American business would seem to be pointless.

The proposed federal regulatory grab will, as always, affect only peaceable, law-abiding American citizens. The federal government could, of course, do a great deal to reduce the border violence by simply rigorously enforcing our national borders and asserting the federal right to guard our national sovereignty. Though states such as Arizona are begging the federal Executive Branch to comply with its duty to the sovereign states by protecting their borders, such requests seem only to cause political heartburn in our nation’s capital. The federal government could also seriously reconsider the decriminalization of drugs, as their criminalization has been about as effective as Prohibition (and with the same predictable effect of the ascendancy of criminal organizations). 

Instead, the ATF seems to be following the path of bullying law-abiding Americans and expecting them to believe that such draconian tactics will somehow make them safer.

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