An edict from the Justice Department to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives paved the way Monday for tighter regulation of repeat purchases of semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines in border states.
The feds' faces were liberally slathered with egg in May after a bunch of assault weapons they "gun-walked" across the border with the intent of tracking their movements to Mexican drug cartels vanished, then ended up at a few crime scenes -- including one where a Border Patrol agent was shot to death.
The new rule requires gun dealers in California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas to report anyone who buys more than two of these weapons in a five-day period. Rep. Lamar Smith referred to the new rules as "the height of hypocrisy" in the wake of the Operation Fast and Furious scandal. "This rule unfairly punishes citizens in Border States who have the right to purchase firearms to protect themselves and their families from dangerous drug traffickers and human smugglers," he said.
That's not a surprising stance for a legislator who's taken more than $8 million from the National Rifle Association, which says it's going to sue the Obama administration over the rule. But what about some local players with real skin in the game?
Unfair Park hit up a couple of Dallas dealers to get their takes, among them Ed Early, a salesman over at Jackson Armory, regarded in this town as one of the finest purveyors of rare, antique weaponry and, yes, bad-ass semi-autos with magazines. Early couldn't muster much more than a verbal shrug. "If that's what it is, I don't think it will affect our business much," he said.
Gay Frazer, who's run Frazer Brothers with her husband Bruce for some 30 years, describes herself as a 67-year-old, 6-foot blond who packs a .357 revolver. She had a more nuanced opinion -- one that essentially covered every angle of the gun control debate, from the encroachment of Second-Amendment freedoms to the futility of control.
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"It would be ridiculous if you didn't report it," she said. "Either they're arming a paramilitary group, or they're going off into the woods to wait it out, or they're selling it to their homeboy. You see what a silly law that is: Huh, you want five of these?"
But really, she added, what the hell is the point?
"The drug people, the arms people, they don't fool with mules going across the border," she said. "Some of these arms guys have jets. They literally have submarines. We're not talking about running four or five across the border. These people deliver 100. If someone comes across the border and buys an AK-47 and pays a thousand to take it across border, an arms dealer can get him one from Syria for 100 bucks."
Or from a Dallas crackhead for $50.