A lawyer for two Arizona gun dealers argued Wednesday that the Obama administration in trying to halt the flow of U.S. guns to Mexican drug gangs overstepped its legal authority when it required dealers in Southwestern border states to report when customers buy multiple high-powered rifles.
Attorney Richard Gardiner told a federal appeals court panel Wednesday that the directive requires gun dealers to create a records system and the government has no authority to do that.
At issue is a requirement that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives imposed in 2011 on gun sellers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The requirement, issued in what is known as a demand letter, compels those sellers to report to the ATF when anyone buys — within a five-day period — two or more semi-automatic weapons capable of accepting a detachable magazine and with a caliber greater than .22. The ATF says the requirement is needed to help stop the flow of guns to Mexican drug cartels.