BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation today applauded both the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the National Rifle Association, the latter joining with J&G Sales of Prescott, AZ, for filing federal lawsuits against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives over a new reporting requirement aimed at gun dealers in four Southwest States.

“Based on revelations from the investigations into the ATF’s botched Operation Fast and Furious,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, “it was the agency’s own ineptitude, not any questionable conduct by firearms dealers, that allowed hundreds if not thousands of firearms to make it into the wrong hands. Trying to thwart gun running is what the new regulation is purportedly all about, but it appears ATF is largely responsible for creating a problem they now want to solve by penalizing gun dealers and buyers with more paperwork.”

NSSF and NRA filed their separate lawsuits in federal district court in Washington, D.C.

“By limiting this new reporting requirement to some 8,500 dealers in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California,” Gottlieb observed, “we have a serious question about equal protection, because the ATF is suddenly treating dealers and gun owners differently than in all the other states. And there are issues that attorneys for NRA and NSSF have raised. SAF will definitely file an amicus brief at the appropriate time.

“Nobody in the firearms community wants to see criminals armed as the result of illegal straw man purchases or other gun trafficking mechanisms,” Gottlieb noted. “However, the burden of responsibility for preventing such activities should not be placed on the shoulders of firearms retailers who have habitually alerted ATF to suspicious purchases, without the necessity of a new regulation and new paperwork form.

“ATF’s authority for demanding such information is questionable,” he concluded. “Instead of the agency expanding its powers, right now – in the wake of the Fast and Furious scandal – ATF should be reined in by Congress.”