Congressman Denny Rehberg of Montana is the recipient of the CCRKBA February Gun Rights Defender of the Month Award.

In nominating Rep. Rehberg for the Award, John M. Snyder, CCRKBA Public Affairs Director, said “this Congressman is taking a leading role in trying to prevent the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) from assuming power and using it to impose upon law-abiding firearm dealers unwarranted burdens in the operations of their businesses.

“The BATFE action is a bureau­cratic attempt to undermine the Second Amendment by encumber­ing firearms dealers with more red tape. By fighting the BATFE on this, Congressman Rehberg is rendering a real service to law-abiding Ameri­can gun owners. It means that he certainly deserves to be named CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month.”

In December, 2010, the Second Amendment community was upset to learn that BATFE was moving to require federally licensed firearms retailers to report multiple sales of modern sporting rifles. BATFE wants to require that firearms retail­ers report multiple sales or other dispositions of two or more over .22 caliber semiautomatic rifles that are capable of accepting a detach­able magazine and are purchased by the same individual within five consecutive business days.

Although a report in The Washing­ton Post suggested that the mandate would be limited to retailers along the Southwest border, the Na­tional Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) pointed out that BATFE’s Federal Register Notice did not limit the geographic scope of the reporting requirement.

In fact, the BATFE “emergency” mandate originally was published more than a year ago by the gun-grabbing Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) coalition under the control of anti-gun Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City. Although the news­paper reported that the Department of Justice “languished” over the plan for several months, it was hard to see from where the “emergency” came, as NSSF noted. It really looked like BATFE was taking orders from MAIG.

Congressman Rehberg stated that, “While we’ve managed to stop gun control efforts in Congress, the Obama administration wants to circumvent the legislative process altogether in order to force its anti-gun policies on the American people. Beyond the economic burden of more paperwork for gun dealers, this rule is predicated on the incorrect assumption that buy­ing multiple guns is a questionable activity that warrants a red flag for government attention. This is the exact mindset that proponents of the Second Amendment feared when an anti-gun Chicago politician moved into the White House. I’ll keep fight­ing to make sure the federal govern­ment respects all of our constitutional rights.”

Rep. Rehberg organized a biparti­san statement with 33 congressional co-signers declaring that, “We cross a line when the federal government starts keeping tabs on citizens who are exercising their constitutional rights in a completely legal manner. This isn’t about partisanship or politics – this is about standing up for liberty.”

His office indicated that, “Unlike previous efforts to register firearm purchases, this emergency informa­tion request can be implemented without any congressional action whatsoever.”

In a letter to President Barack Obama, Congressman Rehberg and the others noted that the BATFE “request asks the Office of Manage­ment and Budget (OMB) to approve an information collection that would require federally licensed firearm dealers to report the sales of two or more semiautomatic rifles to the same customer within a five-day period…We are strongly opposed to this request by the ATF, and to any further efforts to regulate the sale of firearms through emergency notices and paperwork changes that have not been properly vetted by Congress or by the affected public.

“Implementing the ATF’s proposal would subject firearms dealers and their customers to new, onerous requirements that would inevitably track and catalogue the purchases of law-abiding gun owners. And while Congress has authorized multiple sales reporting for handguns, we have never extended this authority to other types of firearms.

“Expanding this power by ex­ecutive decree would be an end run around Congress.

“Under current law, the ATF already has extensive powers to inspect the sales records of firearms dealers and investigate suspicious transactions. We encourage your administration to reconsider this ill-conceived change to the reporting requirements, and instead utilize the ATF’s existing authority to ensure that firearms dealers are in compli­ance with the law.”