Department of Justice civil division attorney Michael Raab defended the demand letters, which were issued to more than 8,000 dealers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. "This is really not an onerous burden," he argued, calling the ATF's action "a valid exercise of the agency's broad demand letter authority."
Edwards said that nothing in the record suggests that there's any confusion about which firearms the multiple-sale reporting requirement applies to.
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, represented by Arnold & Porter, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the government.
"Multiple sales reports are effective and efficient tools for highlight potential indicators of long gun trafficking," the brief argued. An ATF agent, the center's attorneys continued, "can quickly examine" the reports for evidence of an "unusually large or an unorthodox pattern of multiple sales."
The appeals court didn't immediately rule on Wednesday morning.
Richard Gardiner, representing gun dealers, argued that the ATF demand letters are outside the agency's authority and that the record mandate would be unduly burdensome for dealers.
Mike Scarcella writes for The National Law Journal, a Daily Report affiliate.