Newtown, CT– The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, has filed a notice of appeal in response to a federal court’s denial of its lawsuit challenging ATF’s demand for firearm retailers to report multiple sales of certain semiautomatic rifles.
The lawsuit, NSSF v. Jones, was filed last August in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) had sent demand letters to nearly 8,700 federal firearms licensees and pawnshops, including law-abiding NSSF members, located in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas requiring them to report multiple rifle sales information.
NRA-backed plaintiffs, the firearm retailers J&G Sales Ltd. and Foothills Firearms LLC, also filed a notice of appeal.
NSSF disagrees with the district court’s reasoning that ATF did not overstep the authority granted it by Congress by issuing demand letters and mandating that retailers provide the rifle sales records.
“The decision places our industry on a ‘slippery slope,’” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “The district court’s ruling will allow the ATF to demand whatever information it wants from any law-abiding retailer anywhere in the country for any reason ATF wants simply by sending a letter demanding information.
“Though NSSF understands ATF’s motivation is to try to curtail violence in Mexico, Congress simply has not granted ATF regulatory carte blanche.”
Keane stressed that the firearms industry abhors the criminal misuse of firearms, whether on the streets of El Paso, Texas, or in Juarez, Mexico. “Notwithstanding our appeal, NSSF is continuing to encourage all retailers — not just those along the border — to cooperate with law enforcement and report any suspicious activity to the ATF,” said Keane. “Members of the firearms industry take great pride in their longstanding cooperative relationship with ATF. Retailers have long been considered by ATF to be a vital source of information for law enforcement in combating illegal firearms trafficking.”
NSSF’s notice is the first step toward having its appeal heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. “NSSF looks forward to having the appellate court review the district court’s flawed decision,” said Keane.