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A photo taken in January shows part of a cache of seized weapons displayed at a news conference in Phoenix. In July, the Justice Department announced new rules requiring gun dealers to report multiple sales of semi-automatic rifles. (AP)

Gun Dealers Sue To Block Rules On Multiple Rifle Sales

Aug 3, 2011

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Carrie Johnson

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Gun dealers are suing the Obama administration to block a new rule that requires them to report multiple sales of semi-automatic rifles. The National Rifle Association says the administration doesn't have the legal authority to enforce the rule.

Update at 5:26 p.m. ET: The NRA has put a press release about its support for the lawsuit on its website. Our original post continues:

Last month, Justice Department leaders announced the new reporting rule, which covers gun dealers in four Southwest border states - California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Federal officials say the rule will help target gun traffic along the border with Mexico.

"We think that the action that we have taken is consistent with the law," says Attorney General Eric Holder, "and that the measures we are proposing are appropriate ones to stop the flow of guns from the United States into Mexico."

The government wants gun dealers to notify authorities when the same person buys multiple long guns within a short period of time. But the NRA says only Congress can impose that kind of requirement on gun dealers.

The NRA argues that the rule will violate the privacy rights of customers and take up too much of their employee's time doing paperwork. They want a judge to block the rule and to make sure the Justice Department doesn't go after gun shops that refuse to share sales information.

The new reporting rule was announced weeks after members of Congress began looking into a U.S. law enforcement operation called Fast and Furious. In that operation, investigators lost track of guns that were later discovered at crime scenes on the Southwest border.

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