US defends gun sale reporting requirement in court

October 25, 2011 - 5:15 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Gun store owners in southwestern border states are arguing the federal government cannot require them to report when customers buy multiple high-powered rifles.

The Justice Department argued in court Tuesday that the two-month-old requirement could help stop the flow of guns to Mexican drug cartels. It requires sellers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to give the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives information about purchasers who buy two such weapons within five days.

U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer questioned whether monitoring lawful gun sales is an appropriate way to stop the flow of guns to Mexican gangs. The requirement was imposed amid controversy over ATF's Operation Fast and Furious which tried to follow straw gun purchases back to smuggling ringleaders but lost track of 1,400 guns.