Assault Weapons Reporting Rule Delayed Amid Criticisms from Gun Lobby
Facing fierce criticisms from the gun lobby, the White House has delayed the approval of the assault weapons reporting rule.
Some officials of federal law enforcement have said that the rule could help them impede the flow of US assault rifles and other high-powered firearms to the drug cartels of Mexico.
Critics raised questions about the legal authority of the ATF to issue such rule on an emergency basis.
The rule, which was announced by Kenneth Melson, acting director of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, require US firearms dealer to report multiple sales of long guns. These include semi-automatic assault rifles, oftentimes bought by so-called “straw buyers” for the drug cartels.
Melson made the announcement in December 20 of last year, adding that he expected the proposed rule to be approved in early January of this year. But the approval deadline date of January 5 has come and gone without the proposed reporting rule being approved by the White House.
This left some ATF officials confused and disappointed, although there are some who expressed their hopes that President Barack Obama might address the issue in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night.
This can potentially send a message that the administration is taking a positive step towards addressing the problem on gun violence.
However, the State of the Union also passed without President Obama discussing guns in his speech. At present, a number of ATF officials are already wondering whether the proposed rule will even take effect.
One former agency official, who expressed his, views on condition of anonymity, said, “This is hugely demoralizing and embarrassing for ATF.”