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Lawyers, Guns and Money

The Department of Justice's decision this week to require firearms dealers in Texas and three other border states to report the multiple sales of long rifles will come down to a funding battle in Washington.

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The Department of Justice's decision this week to require firearms dealers in Texas and three other border states to report the multiple sales of long rifles will come down to a funding battle in Washington.

The policy would require firearms dealers in Texas, New Mexico, California and Arizona to furnish reports to the federal government when they sell two or more long rifles (over .22 caliber) in a five-day period. It's the same policy already in place for handguns. Proponents say it would crack down on the illicit flow of firearms to Mexico.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives attempted to implement the policy earlier this year, but the National Rifle Association and pro-gun lawmakers stalled the proposal.

Like they did when the proposal was first announced, opponents of the measure have offered an amendment to kill the measure. The pending legislation, which passed the U.S. House Appropriations Committee this week, contains an amendment by U.S. Rep. Danny Rehberg, R-Montana, that would prohibit the ATF from requiring licensed firearm dealers to report to the agency the multiple sales of rifles.

Gov. Rick Perry entered the fray this week, arguing that the proposal "singles out" border states and that the measure would "have little or no impact on the Mexican cartels." The debate is sure to have Democrats calling out their GOP counterparts on what they feel is a double standard. Several Republican lawmakers, including members of the Texas congressional delegation, frequently accuse the Obama administration of failing to secure the borders and crack down on transnational crime. Some Democrats argue that reporting these gun sales would be a decent first step.

If Perry decides to run for president, he is likely to turn focus away from the administration's claim that the policy is intended to curb the flow of weapons. Instead, look for the governor to try to prove the measure is another example of government overreach and an erosion of constitutional guarantees.

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