On yesterday morning's The Glenn Beck Program Glenn Beck responded to news that the Obama administration had promulgated regulations requiring that multiple purchases of certain long guns be reported to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in his typical conspiratorial and misleading style.
Yesterday the Justice Department issued regulations putting into place a reporting requirement for multiple purchases of long guns favored by Mexican cartels such as AK-47s or AR-15s. The reporting requirement means that if you buy two or more of these rifles within a week near the Mexican border, the gun shop owner must fill out a form recording the sale and send it to the ATF. Multiple purchases of handguns are already reported this way. It doesn't make buying these guns illegal or more difficult.
None of that stopped Beck from conflating a requirement to report a gun purchase with a gun ban and, briefly, gun confiscation. Discussing his planned move to Texas, Beck riffed on his imagined regional gun restrictions:
BECK: I'm not a professional politician and Pat I know you're not either. So I can't, I specifically can't point out, you know, why it makes sense to have extra penalties and extra things, that, you know, you can't sell a gun in Texas, but in Oklahoma, yeah, yeah you can.
Beck sidekick Pat Gray later said that "Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico [are] banning certain forms of weapons.
The reporting requirement (which was published as a proposed regulation in December 2010) put into place yesterday in no way constitutes a regional prohibition on purchasing guns, as would be reasonably clear to anyone reading the Associated Press report on the subject that Beck's website the Blaze linked to in its article about the reporting rule.
But that didn't stop Beck. During the same segment, Beck read a news report describing the reporting requirement and says he plans to learn what guns people moving to Texas "should buy before they ban them".
In a later segment Beck jokingly described his plans to have "47 .50 caliber machine guns" on his Texas property. A bit later he asked, "why would they be taking the guns away from the people on the border states?" Beck then backtracked a bit, acknowledging that even in his fevered imagination in which a gun ban is imminent, there would be no actual gun confiscation because guns that had already been purchased would be "grandfathered in."
Beck's gun ban conspiracies have an unnerving history. In April 2009 Richard Poplawski was arrested for murder after the death of three police officers during a shootout at his home. Poplawski was described by friends as fearing "the Obama gun ban that's on the way" and that he "loved Glenn Beck".
Yesterday's action by the ATF won't keep Beck from stocking up his an arsenal in Texas or any other border state. It requires only that his bulk purchases be reported to the ATF. If Beck was planning on keeping his arsenal a secret, then he probably shouldn't have talked about it on radio.