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Treasury Weighs Wider Ban on Arms Imports

From Associated Press

The Treasury Department may ban imports of additional kinds of semiautomatic weapons, following earlier suspension of imports of five types, a spokesman said today.

The Treasury’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is still reviewing the uses of all types of semiautomatics that are imported, but has not reached a decision on whether to suspend importation of more models than the five types banned from import this week, said Jerry Rudden, spokesman for the BATF.

“The process is ongoing. Additional firearms may very well be added to the list. . . . Large numbers of firearms are being looked at,” he said.

But he said a report that the BATF had added some weapons to the list and then changed its mind was erroneous.

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White House spokeswoman Alixe Glen had said earlier that she understood such a decision had been made by BATF but that it was done “without any pressure or direction from any other agency,” including the White House and the Treasury Department hierarchy.

Chief of Staff John H. Sununu’s office also heard that BATF might add more weapons to its suspension, said a Sununu aide who spoke on condition of anonymity. The aide said he called BATF officials to learn if that was true and was told that the bureau was still evaluating the matter and has no announcement planned on expanding the ban.

Only Seeking Information

The aide said he was only seeking information and the call did not indicate any White House pressure, although the lobbyist for the National Rifle Assn., Wayne La Pierre, met with Sununu on Thursday while Bush was traveling in Texas and Colorado.

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The meeting lasted less than 10 minutes, Sununu’s aide said, and did not involve discussion of a potential expanded suspension. LaPierre brought a copy of the NRA’s public comment on the suspension, and discussed some concerns about legislation in Congress.

NRA officials refused comment today on any of their contacts with the Administration.

The Washington Post reported today that BATF had intended on Thursday to announce it would supplement an import ban announced two days earlier on such weapons as the Uzi and AK-47.


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