A little-noticed provision of a bill that has to pass in order to keep the federal government’s lights on could kill one of the few tools designed to stop the torrent of American guns flowing across the border to Mexico, reports The Trace. As Congress reconvenes for its summer sprint, legislators could vote as soon as this week on an omnibus budget package to fund the federal government in 2018. One part of that package is the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill, approved by the full Appropriations Committee on July 13. And attached to that bill is a rider that would prohibit the ATF from using any funds to enforce a rule requiring gun dealers in Southwestern border states to report bulk sales of rifles and shotguns.
Bulk purchases are considered red flags for possible gun trafficking and prompt ATF agents to investigate. In the eight months after the reporting rule went into effect in 2011, the ATF initiated more than 120 investigations and recommended charges against more than 100 defendants in 25 cases, according to a 2013 report by the Center for Public Integrity. The Obama administration imposed the mandate rule in response to skyrocketing violent crime in Mexico and Central America. Of the 102,339 crime guns seized by Mexican authorities between 2010 and 2015 and submitted to the ATF for tracing, approximately 70 percent originated in the United States.