U.S. appeals court upholds rules on firearms reporting

A federal appeals court Friday upheld a gun reporting rule that the Obama administration adopted in 2011 to try to detect bulk sales of semi-automatic rifles to Mexican drug gangs.

A unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the administration acted within its authority to adopt the rule, which affects firearms sellers in states bordering Mexico.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 unambiguously authorizes the rule, and it is unrealistic to argue, as gun retailers and manufacturers did, that the rule is too burdensome, Judge Karen Henderson wrote for the panel of three judges.

The rule requires stores in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas to notify federal law enforcement when someone buys two or more of a specific type of firearm within five business days.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives adopted the notice requirement amid soaring drug violence in Mexico, carried out in part using firearms that originated in the United States.

Retailers and gunmakers, including the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade group based in Newtown, Connecticut, scene of the December school massacre, sued to block the rule.

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