Political Correction

Rep. Issa's ATF Witness: We Monitor Sudafed Sales, Why Not AK-47s?

June 16, 2011 5:02 pm ET - by Chris Brown

Yesterday, Political Correction discussed the House Oversight Committee's hearing on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (ATF) Fast and Furious investigation, which heard testimony from three ATF agents that had come forward with criticism of the controversial program. As we noted, ATF special agent Peter Forcelli, in addition to describing his concerns about ATF strategies, also identified weak gun laws, lack of ATF resources and weak sentencing guidelines for straw buyers as major concerns despite committee chairman Darrell Issa's (R-CA) attempts to shut down the NRA-unfriendly line of discussion.

Another related issue that Forcelli discussed was the proposed reporting rule that would require gun dealers to report multiple sales of cartel-favored assault rifles, such as AK-47s. Forcelli indicated support for the proposal. But earlier this year, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to block that proposal at the urging of the NRA.

REP.JOHN TIERNEY(D-MA): If I went into a store and bought any number of those [Romanian AK-47s] that a store owner doesn't have to report that?


TIERNEY: If it was report to you would that give you some indication that here's something you ought to investigate?

FORCELLI: Sir, it is my opinion that just like we monitor monies wired to the Middle East and we monitor how much Sudafed somebody buys in a pharmacy nowadays because that's what's utilized to make methamphetamine, it would be similar to that. Not everybody who buys more then one gun is a criminal, but it would give us an indicator that, hey, why is this person buying 7 AKs? Maybe that's somebody we want to speak to. Now we're not aware of those multiple sales unless one of two things happens. A is that we have a cooperative gun dealer who calls us and says, hey, something not right here, or B that weapon, one of those weapons, is found at a crime scene and traced back to that individual.


In a sample letter regarding the proposed multiple reporting requirement, the NRA's lobbyist arm called the proposal "both illegal and unnecessary." The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General's review of Project Gunrunner identified the types of rifles the proposal is seeking to monitor as the favorite weapons of drug traffickers.

Copyright © 2010 Media Matters Action Network. All rights reserved.