The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms wants gun dealers on the southern border to report bulk sales of assault weapons for six months. These semiautomatic rifles are popular with Mexican drug cartels. More than the AFT's temporary measure is needed.
With nearly 12,500 people reported killed in drug-related violence in Mexico this year, the Obama administration is belatedly taking a small step to curb the flow of guns from US dealers to the drug cartels.
In May, Mexican President Felipe Calderón visited Washington and urged the Congress and president to dam up the river of guns – more than 60,000 in four years – coursing south. Mr. Calderón wants Congress to reinstate the prohibition on assault weapons, a 10-year ban that expired in 2004.
But the National Rifle Association (NRA) has targeted so many lawmakers, they quake before the gun lobby. Mr. Obama has been forced to attack this problem through regulation – although his campaign platform included reinstating the ban.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is proposing that about 8,500 federally licensed gun dealers along the border report bulk sales of so-called assault weapons – semiautomatic rifles such as AK-47s, which are popular with the cartels.