ATF changes policy

July 15, 2011 • Local News

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will soon notify New Mexico gun dealers of a new measure that requires them to report sales of two or more assault weapons to the ATF if the guns are purchased by the same buyer within five business days. The policy change will go into effect in mid-August, ATF spokesman and special agent Tim Carroll said.

“We should be [auth] sending out letters in about two weeks,” explaining the new policy, said Carroll in a phone interview from Washington, D.C.

The Department of Justice announced the policy shift Monday, stating that Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas will now be required to report multiple sales of semi-automatic rifles — greater than .22 caliber and with detachable ammunition clips — in an effort to crack down on illegal gun trafficking into Mexico and along the Southwest border.

“The international expansion and increased violence of transnational criminal networks pose a significant threat to the United States,” Deputy Attorney James Cole said in a statement. “…This new reporting measure, tailored to focus only on multiple sales of these types of rifles to the same person within a five-day period, will improve the ability of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to detect and disrupt the illegal weapons trafficking networks responsible for diverting firearms from lawful commerce to criminals and criminal organizations.”

A similar mandate has applied to handgun purchases for about 40 years. Roswell gun shop owners say they currently report bulk purchases of handguns to the ATF and to the Roswell Police Department.

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