Menu
VIEW OUR STORY

Everytown For Gun Safety Statement on U.S. House Appropriations Committee Acting to Block Law Enforcement Crackdown on Gun Trafficking

Everytown Urges Full House to Remove Dangerous Rider That Undermines Anti-Trafficking Program; Applauds $73 Million in State Funding for NICS Databases and $49 Million Increase to the ATF

Washington, D.C.— Following its passage in the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, Everytown for Gun Safety released the following statement from President John Feinblatt on the FY 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) bill that would force law enforcement to shut down the successful anti-trafficking program on the southwest border. Through the long gun reporting program, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), requires licensed gun dealers in the four border states to report when an individual buys multiple semi-automatic rifles within five business days—a critical indicator of gun trafficking. The committee calls this program “unauthorized,” but every court that has considered the question has found that the program is well within ATF’s authority.

The bill heads next to the House floor for a full vote.

“The House CJS bill would terminate the long gun reporting program, putting public safety at risk by revoking law enforcement funding to break up trafficking rings and police our borders effectively. The program provides critical intelligence on illegal gun trafficking by Mexican drug cartels. Nearly 50,000 people in Mexico, including thousands of police and military personnel, were killed by these drug gangs in a five-year period and ATF data shows that over two-thirds of the firearms recovered and traced in drug cartel crimes in Mexico originated from the United States. The committee has called this important program “unauthorized,” but to the contrary, several federal courts have found it is well within ATF’s authority. Congress should be doing more to crack down on illegal gun trafficking, not recklessly getting in the way of law enforcement.

Although we are very concerned that the bill would block the long gun reporting program, we applaud the committee for providing $73 million in state grant funding to improve data submissions to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and a $49 million increase in ATF funding from last year—which will provide the agency with much needed resources to combat illegal guns and continue to work toward keeping our communities safe from gun violence.”

Additional Information on the Long Gun Reporting Program:

In August 2011, ATF began a program requiring licensed gun dealers in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas to report when an individual buys multiple semi-automatic rifles within five business days[1]— just as all dealers have reported multiple handgun sales for over 20 years. Based on a prior proposal by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, ATF’s plan is narrowly tailored to generate useful intelligence on illegal gun trafficking by Mexican drug cartels while minimizing the burden on gun dealers and law-abiding gun owners.


  • Multiple rifles sales reports help law enforcement crack down on gun trafficking along the southwest border.
  • Semi-automatic rifles sold by U.S. dealers near the border are disproportionately fueling Mexican cartel violence and directly facilitating the smuggling of drugs into our country.

    • In 2009, these semi-automatic rifles made up nearly half of the share of guns recovered from crime scenes in Mexico.[i]
    • Since 2006, these drug gangs have killed more than 47,000 people in Mexico, including thousands of police and military personnel.[ii]
    • According to ATF data, 70 percent of firearms recovered and traced in drug cartel crimes in Mexico originated from the United States.[iii]


    • Multiple rifle sales reports help ATF to crack down on traffickers. During its first eight months—from mid-August 2011 through mid-April 2012—the program generated more than 3,000 reports from the four border states that accounted for the purchase of more than 7,300 rifles. ATF opened more than 120 criminal investigations based on multiple rifle sales reports, and prosecution was recommended for 100 defendants.[5]
    • Every federal court that has addressed the issue has found that requiring dealers in these four border states to report multiple rifle sales is well within DOJ’s “demand letter” authority under 18 U.S.C. 923(g)(5)(a).

      • In May 2013, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously held that federal law “unambiguously authorizes the demand letter,”[6] upholding the January 2012 decision of U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer, a George W. Bush appointee.[7]
      • In July 2013, a unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit adopted the D.C. Circuit’s finding that federal law “unambiguously authorizes the demand letter,”[8] affirming a July 2012 decision by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.[9]
      • In March 2013, in an opinion by Reagan appointee Judge John Conway, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico held that the ATF program was within its authority and did not violate any law.[10]