Gun industry representatives said they would file lawsuits Wednesday challenging new gun-control measures by the Obama administration, an effort the nation’s top lawyer vowed to “vigorously oppose.”
The Justice Department, facing growing questions over Operation Fast and Furious, a controversial sting targeting Mexican drug cartels and American gunrunners, announced last month that it would begin requiring firearms dealers along the nation’s Southwest border to report multiple sales of certain semi-automatic rifles. The department said such rifles are “highly sought after by dangerous drug trafficking organizations,” and the new measures would help “detect and disrupt” weapons trafficking networks.
“[We] are committed to cooperating with ATF and other law enforcement agencies … to investigate and enforce violations of firearms laws,” according to a copy of the industry group’s lawsuit not yet filed in court. “However, Congress has conferred only limited authority on ATF to require federally-licensed firearms dealers to submit information regarding firearms sales. In this case, ATF’s demand exceeds its authority and is prohibited under federal law.”
The NRA’s lawsuit, expected to be filed Wednesday afternoon in Washington on behalf of two Arizona gun dealers, said the dealers will incur “economic loss as a result of having to devote employee time to preparing the reports” and will experience “loss of business from both in-state and out-of-state potential purchasers … who would have bought [certain] rifles but have been dissuaded from doing so because they wish to protect their privacy rights.”