When President Obama last spring was promising Mexican President Felipe Calderon that he would work to deter gunrunning south of the border, White House officials were putting the brakes on a proposal to require gun dealers to report bulk sales of the high-powered semiautomatic rifles favored by drug cartels, reports the Washington Post.
Justice Department officials had sought White House approval to require thousands of gun dealers along the border to report the purchases to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Law enforcement sources said the proposal ws held up by the White House, blaming then-chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. A spokesman for Emanuel, now running for mayor of Chicago, denied the charge. On Friday, ATF published the emergency proposal in the Federal Register. It requires dealers to report to the bureau anytime they make two or more sales over a five-day period of semiautomatic rifles that have a caliber greater than .22 and a detachable magazine. It would be valid for six months.