The 10th U.S. Circuit Court has issued a ruling that opens the door to gun registration in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas.
In a case stemming from the heavily protested 2011 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) requirement that gun dealers in the four border states report all sales of two or more rifles with detachable magazines and chambered higher than .22 caliber within a five day period.
Under the guise of preventing gun trafficking to Mexico, the directive was quietly issued. Of course, a better way to stop gun running to Mexico might have been for the BATFE to, I don't know, stop selling guns to known gun runners in Operation Fast and Furious but that seems to logical for government work.
The lawsuit was filed by a collection of FFL holders in New Mexico who argued that the ATF did not have the authority to demand such reporting. They FFL's went on to say that the new requirement was a direct violation of both the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Firearms Owner Protection Act of 1986.
As Second Amendment Scholar Stephen Holbrook told guns.com, "The Firearms Owners’ Protection Act of 1986 allows ATF to issue a demand letter to require an FFL to report record information required by law or regulation, and prohibits any reporting beyond that. Required records do not include status of a rifle being semiautomatic with a detachable magazine sold within 5 days. The court’s decision simply ignores this. It also underrates the Act’s protections against any system of registration of firearm owners. The decision is being studied for whether to appeal further.
A District Court had issued a summary judgement in the government's favor so the case was moved for review in the 10th Circuit United States Court of Appeals. A totally random (yeah... sure) three judge panel of Judge Carlos F. Lucero, a Clinton appointee, Senior Judge Monroe G. McKay, a Carter appointee and Judge Scott M. Matheson, an Obama appointee reviewed the case.
The panel'sruling, affirmed the District Court decision and further tried to provide legal justification for gun registration.
The court downplayed any issues of a gun registration because the ruling only covers a subset of gun purchases and not information on all sales. The ruling went on to say that because the data is only supposed to be held for two years it's not a true registration.