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Transcript of ATF Acting Director Melson — Webcast

December 20, 2010
Acting Director Announces Demand Letters for Multiple Sales of Specific Long Guns in Four Border States

Hello, I’m Ken Melson, the Acting Director of ATF.

A recent initiative by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has caught the attention of national media outlets. I wanted to make sure everyone heard from me about this law enforcement initiative so there isn’t any confusion.

Recently, ATF announced through the Federal Register our intent to initiate a new Demand Letter requiring the reporting of multiple sales of certain long guns by Federal Firearms Licensees, known as FFLs, in the four Southwest Border States. We took this step as a way to help gain actionable law enforcement intelligence which we believe will help reduce criminal firearms trafficking along the Southwest border.

Before we can actually issue the Demand Letter we must receive approval from the Office of Management and Budget for purposes of the paperwork reduction act. We expect to receive that approval in early January, 2011.

As many of you already know, the goals of ATF’s Southwest border firearms trafficking strategy are:

•: To prevent violent crime;

•: Ensure the safety of the communities and law enforcement situated along the Southwest Border;

•: And to disrupt and dismantle the firearms trafficking networks responsible for the diversion of firearms from lawful commerce into the hands of the Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs)

Since 2006, there has been a significant increase in drug and firearms-related violence in Mexico and along our Southwest border. In response to this increased violence, ATF has deployed focused resources nationally to prevent the firearms trafficking along the Southwest Border and into Mexico.

According to ATF trace data, investigative experience, and Mexican law enforcement officials, a large number of rifles are being used in violent crimes in Mexico and along the border. Our new Demand Letter will implement a limited reporting of multiple sales of certain long guns that functions similarly to the current practice of reporting on the multiple sales of handguns. Currently, all FFLs in the country are required to submit a report of multiple sales to the National Tracing Center when an FFL sells two or more handguns to the same purchaser within five consecutive business days.

The proposed Demand Letter, which is narrowly circumscribed to meet our objectives, will apply a similar reporting requirement to certain long guns, but with these distinct differences:

First, the reporting requirement will apply only to FFLs doing business in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, which are major source states for crime guns seized in Mexico and traced to federal firearms licensees.

Secondly, the reporting requirement applies only to those rifles having all of the following characteristics:

•: A semi-automatic action;

•: A caliber greater than .22; and

•: The ability to accept a detachable magazine.

These specific characteristics subject a very narrow group of long guns that have been identified by ATF and the Government of Mexico as being involved in violent crimes in Mexico to the reporting requirement.

This reporting requirement would apply to the disposition of all rifles in the inventory of the FFLs exhibiting these characteristics, both new and used.

Third, we propose to implement this initiative as a pilot project for a period of one year.

Taken together, limiting the geographic scope, impacting a limited number of licensees, affecting a specific group of rifles, and limiting the duration of this reporting requirement, form a tailored, discreet, responsible and proactive response to a significant law enforcement issue.

Let me be absolutely clear. The purpose of requiring FFLs to report the specified multiple long gun sales in these four source states is to identify criminal firearms traffickers, not to prevent the full and free exercise of our Second Amendment rights, or to encumber the FFLs with burdensome paperwork.

These reports will give ATF real-time leads for the investigation of gun trafficking. ATF’s experience in these source states proves that multiple purchases of the described rifles are strong indicators of firearms trafficking to Mexico. By obtaining information about these multiple sales, ATF increases the likelihood of uncovering and disrupting trafficking schemes before the firearms make their way into Mexico.

I know that FFLs are good citizens who share ATF’s interest and commitment in keeping guns out of criminal hands. Working together we can do that without infringing on the rights of law abiding Americans.
 

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I don't mean to be pickey, but .223 IS a larger cal. than .22 so the AR's and AK's conform to all three requisits and would be included in the reporting.

Doug Whiton, P/W dealer/dist
 

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Be sure to thank your union buddies for ponying up the 50 million dollars it took help to bring this gang of absolute THUGS to power in Wahington.
This is nothing more than another example of their overiding philosophy..."Never waste a crisis".
Take a lousy situation on the border...and instead of actually DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT...use it to attack the Second Amendment.
Awesome...!!!!
 

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Don..... You are absolutely correct. The Cloward and Piven way of doing things, manufacture a crisis and then exploit it.


Jerbear
 

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In Illinois the government at first wasn't going to ticket drivers for not wearing their seat belts, but now they lay for you and are always threatening us about not wearing them. Then they get grants to harass you more at holidays. So much for freedom of choice.I can see where the above gun law is going.

Years back I think in a NRA Riflemen magazine a Canadian warned us about not letting our government register our guns like in Canada.

The frze he put in his article has stuck with me:

"IN THE NAME OF SAFETY WE ARE GOING TO LOSE ALL OF OUR RIGHTS"
 

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"a large number of rifles are being used in violent crimes in Mexico"

What constitutes "a large number"? Were those guns traced back to the US?

Please note that a large number of illegal aliens from Mexico have committed serious crimes in the US. What is Mexico or the US doing to stem the tide of illegals?

Just curious
 

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I am a FFL holder. I live in Texas. And I don't have a problem with this, so if it doesn't hamper my business and it makes the citizens and legal firearms owners/purchasers here safer fell free to butt out. Jim Poor/Texas Gun Works
 

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chipped1, quote: <i>"What constitutes "a large number"? Were those guns traced back to the US?"</i>

Statistic lie, and liars use statistics.

Note the weasel word "trace".

This is a method of following the paperwork trail from the manufacturer and/or the importer to the distributor, then the dealer, then the buyer, then any other dealers and buyers from there for transactions going though a dealer.

Traces are most successful for guns made fairly recently. The older a gun is, the less reliable a trace is. Generally a trace is not going to be made for a beater shotgun from the 1950s, and traces cannot be done for older firearms with no serial number. And guns that were stolen and have not surfaced for many years, or even decades, are not going to be traceable. This means the actual trace pool is already a subset of the number of potential guns.

Now add to that the fact that many of the weapons seized in Mexico never even came from the US. You can't trace a full auto AK47 from a South American country, nor an FAL from Brazil or Argentina. So they aren't even counted in the first place, paring down the guns to "US only". I do not have exact figures, but, hypothetically, if 20% of the guns come from the US and 80% come from other countries, what does this tell you when that 80% isn't even counted?

Gun traces were used once before to fake up firearm statistics. This was during the big push to ban semi-autos. Few police departments were bothering to trace many firearms, because of the hassles involved. But many started a policy of tracing all "assault weapons". This skewed the kinds of weapons being traced, with the result that claims like AWs were 70% yo 80% of traces being done by police departs becoming commonly reported in the media, conveniently without any explanation of what a trace was and why the results were skewed. In reality, at the time the 70% to 80% figures were being claimed, actual shootings of police officers by anything even remotely described as an "assault weapons" was less than 1/5000th of 1% (no typo, that figure comes from the dept. of Justice).

The real answer is to secure the borders. Anyone who bitches about guns being smuggled into Mexico yet fails to complain about illegals coming the other way is simply exploiting the situation for political gain.
 

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Don you are 100% correct. Thats was part of the same strategy used by the Nazi's.
What scares me the most is people don't like what is going on but turn their heads and hope nothing changes for them for a while.
The government of this regime plays the waiting game and then spins the situtation when opprtunity arises.
 

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Brian,

I'm not using a weasel word as you suggest. The reports I have seen state that less than 20% of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the US and most are small caliber. My point is that Libs in the US are using the situation in Mexico to advance their gun control agenda here.

I believe we are on the same side of this issue.

Chip
 

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What scares me is when I see people in the "firearms community" who fail to see the larger picture of what's going on here. The media will trot out a few of them to bolster the argument that it's only the radical fringe gun-nuts who are opposing "common sense" regulations and voila...the Democrat party picks up the drumbeat and we get more rules, more regulation, LESS FREEDOM.
Geeezzzz guys...don't you get it yet...????
 

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As corrupt as the Mexican government/military/police are, they don't need to get guns from the border states, they get them internally.

Some time ago I saw a news report about a weapons cache the Federalies captured. Almost all the long guns were of the SBR variety. Folks, you just can't walk into a gun store in Mesa and buy a full auto 10.5" AR. These guns don't come from border state gun stores, they come from the coffers of the Mexican military, and are no doubt bought with your tax dollars.

There's a reason they say only 20% can be traced - that's because the other 80% were issued to soldiers, police, or conveniently "lost" inside the Mexican Government.

This is only an attempt to validate the BS line that all illegal guns in Mexico come from the US. It is simply the transfer of responsibility from themselves and the S%^T hole country they have made for themselves to the US.
 
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