A federal appeals court on Friday upheld a gun reporting rule that the Obama administration adopted in 2011 to try to detect bulk sales of semi-automatic rifles to Mexican drug gangs.

A unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the administration acted within its authority to adopt the rule, which affects firearms sellers in states bordering Mexico.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 "unambiguously authorizes" the rule, and it is unrealistic to argue, as gun retailers and manufacturers did, that the rule is too burdensome, Judge Karen Henderson wrote for the panel of three judges.