Gun stores sue over bulk sales rule in Arizona

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PHOENIX - Two Arizona gun stores have filed a lawsuit against the federal government challenging requirements that weapons dealers in border states report multiple sales of semi-automatic rifles.

Last month the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ordered gun stores in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and California to report such multiple sales in an effort to thwart weapons trafficking to Mexico.

The rule was issued in the wake of the agency's failed "Operation Fast and Furious" and is set to take effect on August 14.

Several gun stores, along with the National Rifle Association, want to stop the rule from taking effect.

J&G Sales in Prescott and Foothills Firearms in Yuma are behind the lawsuit.

"This is not going to stop the straw purchasers. It's not going to stop anybody, it's just a blanket opportunity for them to enact policy which is unconstitutional," said Ben Suissa, owner of Foothills Firearms.

The lawsuit argues that ATF was not authorized by Congress to require reporting such information about semi-automatic rifles purchases. It also says J&G Sales and Foothills Firearms are subjected to "irreparable harm" under the rule.

Supporters of the rule say gun dealers have nothing to worry about.
 
"This is not about a violation of second amendment rights, it's about public safety," said State Senator Steve Gallardo, a vocal proponent of closing gun sale loopholes.

"I ask the stores, 'What are you afraid of? Who are you selling your guns to that you don't want to report it to federal law enforcement agencies'?" Gallardo says.

Currently gun dealers are required by law to report multiple purchases of handguns.

The Department of Justice says they plan to "vigorously defend" against the lawsuit.