New rule requires border state gun dealers to notify ATF of certain purchases
The Obama administration approved a rule requiring gun dealers in Arizona, New Mexico, California and Texas to inform the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) if a person buys more than one semiautomatic rifle that accepts a detachable magazine and uses ammunition greater than .22 caliber within five days.
The rule is an attempt to make it more difficult for Mexican drug cartels to purchase weapons. Straw buyers often purchase guns, which are then smuggled back to Mexico.
The ATF — which has been without a permanent director for almost five years, thanks to the difficulty of Senate confirmation — has been under fire for Operation Fast and Furious, wherein the agency tracked straw buyers were allowed to purchase large number of weapons, some of which ended up being used by the cartels. The criticism is that the ATF should have intercepted the weapons once they changed hands from the straw buyer to cartel member, and not have waited to see where the weapons end up.