No sooner had the Obama Administration approved a regulation sought by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) requiring federally licensed firearms retailers along the Southwest border to report multiple sales of modern sporting rifles, did news outlets across the country begin misrepresenting the issue.
In one story the title read: “US requires gun shops in 4 Southwest border states to report on buyers of high-powered rifles.” Other stories, too many to name, spoke of reporting “assault weapons.”
Let’s be clear: This regulation is not about high powered rifles or “assault weapons.”
These firearms are modern sporting rifles, incorrectly categorized as so-called “assault weapons” and wrongly considered to be “high-powered.” These firearms shoot only one round per pull of the trigger and they are used every day by law-abiding Americans for the shooting sports, hunting and home protection.
Since 2004, when the “assault weapons” ban expired, modern sporting rifles have fast become one of the most popular types of firearms for law-abiding Americans to purchase. During this time period of increased firearm sales, the crime level has continued to drop – at points, precipitously. Of course, this should come as no surprise as the Department of Justice has routinely stated that so-called “assault weapons” are rarely used in crimes (less than 2 percent). A fact bolstered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which has stated that banning firearms and ammunition has no effect on crime.
It is disappointing that the Obama Administration would approve such an unnecessary measure. As Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA-49) noted, “In Operation Fast and Furious, gun dealers didn’t need this regulation as they voluntarily provided ATF agents with information about suspected straw purchasers. In return for this voluntary cooperation, the Justice Department betrayed them by offering false assurances that they would closely monitor sales of weapons that dealers otherwise did not want to make.”
It is likewise disappointing that all too many in the media would continue to misrepresent what these firearms are and are not.