Budget officials in the White House have delayed federal investigators’ proposed gun control requirement intended to catch gun-runners to Mexico, for at least two months after rejecting an emergency request. They claimed they wanted to allow the public to voice their opinions on the matter.
The proposal would require all gun dealers along the Mexican border to report any person buying more than two semiautomatic rifles of greater than .22 caliber with detachable magazines, such as the popular AK-47s which are commonly in the hands of drug cartels.
Just under two weeks ago, 34 people were charged with trafficking an estimated 700 firearms to Mexico.
The emergency request for the requirement came from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) after more than 30,000 people have been killed and at least 65,000 guns have been seized by the U.S. government as Mexico’s drug war continues.
Gun lobbyists and the National Rifle Association have been against the proposal since its inception with gun industry spokesperson Ted Novin saying, “Multiple-sales reporting for long guns is an ill-considered mandate and one that ATF does not have the legal authority to unilaterally impose.” He goes on to claim that “this reporting requirement would further burden law-abiding firearms retailers with yet another onerous regulation that would do nothing to curb crime.”
Though the proposal has been delayed, the ATF was given some good news. The Office of Budget and Management did announce that ATF would be receiving a larger portion of the budget than previously thought, as OBM had proposed drastic cuts to the ATF budget. Initially, ATF requested a $1.25 billion dollar budget, but were told it could be cut by about $160 million. The OBM announcement revealed that ATF’s 2012 budget will include “an increase above current funding levels.”