New gun rules
POSTED: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 4:24pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 6:00pm
The Arizona ATF operation known as “Fast and Furious” was intended to track large gun purchases into Mexico and ultimately, to the drug cartels.
The guns were bought, but the buyers never tracked and the whole thing ended up arming the drug lords and embarrassing the agency.
So now, a more conservative approach has been announced.
Licensed gun shops in the all the border states are now required to report anytime the same person buys two or more of certain kinds of rifles within a five day period.
Such activity can indicate what’s known as a “straw man” purchase.
“A gun dealer knows, in many cases,” says John Lowy of the Brady Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, “that if a person comes in and they want to buy 25 AK-47’s, they’re not doing it for legitimate self-defense or sporting purposes.”
“If you’ve got a big shop somewhere,” says Mack Woods of The Shootist gunshop, “and you’ve got 10 or 12 employees that are managing your customers coming in, I don’t know what kind of plans that they have for seeing that that customer has been there 2 or 3 or 4 times that week.”
The guns involved are semi-automatic rifles, larger than .22 caliber with detachable magazines.
Multiple sales of handguns are already reported to the ATf, and now that will be extended.
the question is, will it work?
“And the whole thing just seems like more bureaucracy.” Says Woods.
“It’s hard to see why anyone would oppose giving law enforcement information.” Lowy responds.
But those on the front lines who actually sell guns, have their doubts.
“I know that there are people who think that so much of the firearms problem is coming from the border states<” Woods told us. “I just don’t happen to agree. And making such an issue of these is, I think, truly like spitting in the ocean.”
The “Fast and Furious” debacle has turned the spotlight on the ATF, and some say, its days may be numbered.
Originating in the days of prohibition and the Untouchables, if it disappears, its duties would probably be assumed by the FBI.