No Statutory Authority

The ATF may want to regulate long guns by requiring multiple purchases to be reported, but I think it’s almost certain they have no authority to do so. Handguns require this form, but that is because 18 USC Section 923(g) gives ATF that power explicitly:

(3)(A) Each licensee shall prepare a report of multiple sales or other dispositions whenever the licensee sells or otherwise disposes of, at one time or during any five consecutive business days, two or more pistols, or revolvers, or any combination of pistols and revolvers totalling two or more, to an unlicensed person. The report shall be prepared on a form specified by the Attorney General and forwarded to the office specified thereon and to the department of State police or State law enforcement agency of the State or local law enforcement agency of the local jurisdiction in which the sale or other disposition took place, not later than the close of business on the day that the multiple sale or other disposition occurs.

If Congress had intended ATF to have the power to require this form for long guns, they well knew how to do so, but chose to limit the requirement to pistols and revolvers. The fact that shotguns and rifles are not included in this statutory requirement is indicative that ATF does not have the power to require this for long guns at all. This is a power grab by the agency, pure and simple.

12 thoughts on “No Statutory Authority”

  1. Liberals & Conservatives alike show they have one thing in common–the way the abuse power whenever they can get away with it. Let’s hope Congress and the courts start standing up for the Constitution. Signing statements from W. were more or less treated like laws, though they should never have been, and the now 9-years-and-counting undeclared “war on terrorism” continues, along with the inane “war on drugs,” to be used as an excuse to circumvent our normal Constitutional processes. Whether the ATF will get away with “emergency” rules is more a matter of whether we as a people will muster the political will to stop them than it is a matter of what the Constitution allows–without a public willing to stand up for itself, the Constitution is just a scrap of paper, as are all the laws based on it. Just ask the Mexicans–their constitution guarantees the right to own guns, too; doesn’t mean much when you don’t fight for it.

  2. Letters, letters, letters. It seems like every day there’s some new crisis requiring our time to put out the fires of this leftist .gov that we are saddled with. All these actions are created to start a lot of little brush fires demanding our attention, meanwhile as soon as we look at this something else will pop up over here or there. No help for it then, we’ll just have to suck it up and go. No plan will ever withstand the first shell fired so we just go on revising and revising till the time comes to put them all down or die. I can see why Sipsey Street is so down, it’s enough to make a grown up break.

  3. Doesn’t matter they will still do it. This is the ATF. These are the kind of people that do what they want when they want and then worry about the upcoming court case that MAY happen if they do it. Whichthey will win by threatening to kill the family members of the witnesses and legal experts.

  4. Sticking yet another requirement onto American gun owners for the benefit of a foreign country is un-American. However, it should be popular in Mexico and the White House, since both are places where sticking it to Americans is the unofficial sport.

  5. Any word from the NRA if they’re going to get involved if this goes into effect? I agree with your assessment that there’s no statutory authority for them to do this, for whatever that’s worth.

    This is broad-based enough that I’d expect NRA and NSSF to get involved, hell maybe even St. Gura, versus something like an NFA tweak where they’d let us twist in the wind.

  6. Any word from the NRA if they’re going to get involved if this goes into effect? […]

    This is broad-based enough that I’d expect NRA and NSSF to get involved

    Looks like they’re both getting involved already, though I didn’t see anything in either press release about how it exceeds ATF’s statutory authority (h/t SayUncle).

  7. Pingback: Anonymous
  8. 1. By their own admission, ATF has overstated the “trafficking” problem and deliberately mislead Congress and the American People. Between 2008 and 2010, ATF quoted 90% of guns seized in Mexico came from the United States. In September 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a draft report critical of Project Gunrunner, followed by a final version in November, 2010. The OIG analysis of ATF data shows, of the guns submitted for tracing, a much lower percentage of guns (about 27 percent) traced to the United States. These percentages significantly differ from those in ATF testimony before Congress

    When confronted with the OIG analysis, ATF then admitted to the OIG that the 90% figure cited to Congress is misleading. During this 2010 review by the OIG, ATF could not provide updated information on the percentage of traced Mexican crime guns that originated in or imported through the United States.

    2. ATF’s proposed reporting is overly broad. Rather than “a very narrow group of long guns” as ATF stated, the proposed rule includes a huge number of guns unlikely to be trafficked. Instead of specifying the guns ATF keeps saying are the problem (AK47, AR15, .50 caliber, etc.), they have included a huge number of curio and relic rifles up to 100 years old of interest mainly by collectors, and many rifles chambered for obsolete ammunition no longer manufactured.

    3. ATF’s proposed reporting constitutes a direct two-fold violation of the Firearm Owners Protection Act by requiring these records be transferred to the United States Government, and also constitutes a system of registration of firearms and firearm owners.

    “No such rule or regulation prescribed after the date of the enactment of the Firearms Owners Protection Act may require that records required to be maintained under this chapter or any portion of the contents of such records, be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or disposition be established. Nothing in this section expands or restricts the Secretary’s authority to inquire into the disposition of any firearm in the course of a criminal investigation.”

    4. Once reported to ATF, these proposed registration records never go away, but permanently remain in ATF databases at the National Tracing Center, and if traced, will be reported to corrupt Mexican police.

    If a trace links to any of these records, even in error, many innocent American gun owners personal information (including name and address, height, weight, drivers license number, possibly Social Security Number, date of birth, place of birth, and all other guns linked to that last name and date of birth) will be reported with a trace. If your name is Smith (or Garcia in the Southwest), there are many people with the same date of birth!

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