Perry Blasts New Federal Rules for Gun Dealers

Gov. Perry fires an M-32 grenade launcher.
Gov. Perry fires an M-32 grenade launcher.

Gov. Rick Perry Wednesday lambasted new Department of Justice reporting requirements for gun dealers in states on the U.S.-Mexico border, calling the new rules “misguided” and “constitutionally questionable.”

The new requirement from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, announced Monday, means  firearms dealers from Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California will have to notify the federal government whenever an individual buys two or more semi-automatic rifles. Gun dealers are already required to notify the government of multiple handgun purchases.

Mexican President Felipe Calderón has repeatedly claimed that 85 percent of the 100,000 guns seized in Mexico in the last four years originated in the United States. U.S. law enforcement agencies have struggled to find ways to stanch the flow of weapons into Mexico, with limited success. The new requirement was first recommended by an Department of Justice report in 2010, but the Obama administration postponed action on the proposal.

In a statement issued by his office, Perry attacked the efficacy and constitutionality of the new requirement, arguing that the cartels have “various ways of obtaining weapons that don't include lawful purchases from legitimate gun sellers.”

He called on the Obama administration to “target actual criminals rather than law-abiding citizens and immediately secure our southern border.”

Perry is not the only one to react negatively to the new reporting requirements. U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., attempted to withhold funds for enforcement of the law, but the bill was defeated in the Senate. The National Rifle Association has announced its intention to sue as soon as the rules reach gun dealers in the mail.

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