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Begich Objects to ATF Proposed Gun Restrictions

New authority would threaten Second Amendment rights

Fearful of the precedent that could be set restricting Second Amendment rights for Alaskans and all Americans, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich is asking the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to withdraw a proposal that would put new reporting requirements on thousands of gun dealers in the U.S.  Begich is responding to ATF’s request to the White House for emergency authority to require gun dealers near the borders in four states – California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas – to report gun sales of two or more high-powered rifles sold within five consecutive business days.

In the letter to ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson, Begich said taking away the Second Amendment rights of Americans will not prevent crime and violence by Mexican drug cartels.

“While I understand the importance of cracking down on violence and gun trafficking along the U.S.-Mexico border, this wide-reaching regulation would punish law-abiding American gun owners and impede their Second Amendment rights,” Begich said. “Instead, we must secure our border and target Mexican drug cartels, as well as participating offenders in the United States.”

In the letter, Begich acknowledges the persisting violence and crime by drug cartels in Mexico and the dangers posed to citizens of both Mexico and the United States. But, he says, Mexico’s strict gun laws have failed to stem the violence by drug cartels, which reportedly have access to illegal weaponry not sold by retailers in the United States.

“The fact remains, restrictive gun laws do not prevent criminals from committing acts of violence. While I strongly support cooperating with the Mexican government to secure our border from criminal activity, I believe this requirement would unfairly burden innocent Americans and violate their Second Amendment rights,” Begich writes.

Begich further states that Congress should be given the opportunity to consider such a proposal. Estimates say roughly 8,500 gun dealers in the U.S. would be impacted if the new gun reporting requirement is put into place.

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