Justice Department issues stricter gun reporting rules to curb flow of U.S. weapons into Mexico

The Justice Department has announced stricter gun reporting requirements in four states sharing borders with Mexico as the agency faces mounting criticisms and public scrutiny over its handling of Operation Fast and Furious.

The Justice Department will require all licensed gun dealers in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas to report any buyer who purchases high-powered weapons – such as the .22 caliber rifles with detachable magazines – more than once within a five-day period.

Deputy Attorney General James Cole. PHOTO SOURCE: DOJ.gov

“This new reporting measure…will improve the ability of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to detect and disrupt the illegal weapons trafficking” into Mexico, said Deputy Attorney General James Cole. “These targeted information requests will occur in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas to help confront the problem of illegal gun trafficking into Mexico and along the Southwest Border.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, criticized the DOJ’s new firearms reporting rules. “The administration’s continued overreach with regulations continues, and is a distraction from its reckless policy to allow guns to walk into Mexico,” said Grassley, who is leading the congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious.

The announcement came a week after ATF Director Kenneth Melson told congressional investigators that the Justice Department withheld crucial information that could have prevented the ill-conceived Operation Fast and Furious.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee are investigating whether the Justice Department and ATF intentionally allowed high-powered weapons purchased in Arizona to be smuggled into Mexico between 2009 and 2010. Many of the 2,000 weapons tracked during Operation Fast and Furious were sold to Mexican drug cartels.

During Operation Fast and Furious, Phoenix ATF agents were ordered to allow guns bought by “straw purchasers” to “walk” across the border while the U.S. Attorney’s office in Arizona built cases against the weapon traffickers. However, Melson’s interview with congressional investigators revealed that many of the trafficking “higher ups” targeted by Fast and Furious were already known to the FBI and DEA, and some may have been paid as informants by the agencies; that information, Melson alleged, was not disclosed to the ATF.

The shooting death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010 marked the beginning of the end of Operation Fast and Furious. Terry was shot and killed in a gunfight with smugglers near Rio Rico, Ariz. The weapons found at the scene were later traced back to Operation Fast and Furious.

Since June, Terry’s family and several Phoenix ATF agents previously involved with Operation Fast and Furious have testified before the Committee on Government Oversight and Reforms. Click below to read their testimonies:

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6 Comments on “Justice Department issues stricter gun reporting rules to curb flow of U.S. weapons into Mexico

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  6. I do and don’t agree with this, It seems that the ATF is looking for an excuse for the crap they got caught doing and lets make some more laws. If the people are that stupid and can’t see that it was under their watchful eye that did not get stopped, what is reporting going to do now. It’s funny that there is no accountabilty for lying from Obama, Eric Holder,and down that they got people killed over this and continued to lie to cover up the other lie they told befor….

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