NRA Has Congress by the Balls… America Pays with Blood

NRA-Grip-on-Congress

The NRA has repeated, time and again that “we need to enforce the thousands of gun laws that are currently on the books. Prosecuting criminals who misuse firearms works.” That was Wayne LaPierre’s demand at the January 30 Senate hearing on gun violence. To understand just how disingenuous that simple statement is, all you have to do is look at the efforts that the NRA have taken to stop enforcement of “gun laws that are currently on the books.”.

Put simply…Wayne LaPierre doesn’t give a damn about enforcement of old laws or introducing new laws to stop slaughter…he and the NRA are too busy passing out checks to Congress that support his lobbying efforts for the gun industry.

Besides their current battle plan to stop each and every new regulation before it even has time to see the floor of Congress [see Assault Weapons Ban legislation], the much more insidious plan has been taking place for years, little earmarks tucked into other bills that neuter government’s ability to enforce current gun laws. It directly enforces the NRA’s singular mission…to help the gun industry sell as many guns as possible with as little interference from pesky “laws” as possible. And Congress plays along, awaiting their check or fearing the “wrath” of an easily duped NRA membership.

So how does the NRA do it? As the Center for American Progress shows, they buy favored legislation without it ever, even once having a hearing, being heard in committee or on the floor of the House or Senate? Earmarks or at least the legislative version of them. But instead of being a rider to pave a donor’s marina parking lot under the guise of Homeland Security requirements [as Hal Rogers [R-KY] did…it is a little bill attached to an important bill such as a “must pass” appropriations bill.

ATF Stopped from Collecting Strawman Data

And that is just what happened in May of 2012 when the Appropriations bill for Commerce and Justice for FY2013 came through. Included in it was an section that prohibited the ATF from requiring firearms dealers in states on the Mexican border to report the sale of multiple rifles or shotguns to a single individual, a noted strawman purchase. This ATF policy that was being targeted was a new policy to assist law enforcement fighting illegal gun trafficking along the border with Mexico. This happened at the same time Republicans and the NRA were pillorying the Obama administration for Fast and Furious.
HR5326, SEC. 219. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to require a person licensed [gun shop]under section 923 of title 18, United States Code, to report information to the Department of Justice regarding the sale of multiple rifles or shotguns to the same person.

Bringing ATF Data Into the 21st Century

One of the requirements for any systematic analysis tools that allow the ATF to manage the tracking of stolen weapons, straw buyers and illegal purchases is a sound database of information. It seems simple…but the NRA has spent years stopping the ATF from enforcing laws that require record keeping, bringing what records the ATF does have into 21st Century technology and having an ability for law enforcement to use the data to catch the very criminals that the NRA says are the ones that should be held accountable.

The NRA handcuffs the ATF and law enforcement with riders in Appropriations bills that keep ATF from computerizing their files…leading to warehouses full of paper documents. [For the fiscally conservative right…this is how your tax dollars are being spent…long man hours to investigate files on paper that should be on-line]. Since 1979 the ATF has not had the legal ability to consolidate information into a database for law enforcement.

Department of Justice Halted from Sharing Gun Trace Data

In 2004 a rider was tucked into the Justice Appropriations bill that prohibits the Department of Justice from disclosing “trace” data, that all important information that can link criminal to gun to dealer to manufacture. And the NRA complains loudly that the Administration is not prosecuting criminals for gun crimes…now you know why.

ATF Can’t Demand Inventory Control

One of the primary functions of the ATF is inspecting the 60,000 federally licensed gun dealers in the United States. They are hampered from doing this by funding restraints and by riders in the Appropriations bills. Note the recurring theme.

Again in 2004 [when the White House and both houses of Congress were Republican] a rider was placed into the funding bill that restricted the ATF’s ability to conduct inventories of gun dealers. Put simply the ATF was handcuffed from performing a core function to insure that guns that came in the door of gun shops when out the door with proper paperwork.

In 2011 inspections found 18,500 guns were missing in the limited inventory inspections of just 13,000 dealers that the ATF is able to accomplish. One of the guns used by John Allen Mohammed in the 2003 Beltway Sniper attacks that killed 10 was such a “stolen” weapon from a gun shop…a Bushmaster XM-15. Sound familiar?

gunriders_fig1

When it comes to gun violence, and determining appropriate solutions to reduce its impact on American society is good, sound research into all the variables that go into the violence so that resources can be called to bear on those factors that are the most significant. But yet another rider…this one over several years explicitly defunded the Centers for Disease Control as they tried to study gun violence, tried to define the important links. This may have backfired on the NRA this year as detailed studies may have shown that there is not a link between assault rifles and significant gun violence. But we won’t know because unbiased research was halted.

All of these boil down to a couple of very significant facts. The NRA has, for 30 years attempted to neuter all attempts by government to solve gun violence, they have attempted to neuter the “thousands of laws already on the books” that they insist should be fully enforced before any new laws are considered. They have stopped inspections, stopped enforcement and they have stopped research…all for the very simple reason of profit for the gun manufacturers that give them millions of dollars each year to do their bidding.

When the subject comes up that there is “a price for freedom”…that price is measured by monies spent by the NRA to enhance the profits of their clients and by the number of bodies that pile up year after year while the NRA shamelessly looks away.

____________________________________

McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.


3 responses to “NRA Has Congress by the Balls… America Pays with Blood

  • Jon Cohen (@JonUPS_)

    This is something a friend and I were just talking about the other day. I sent the following links to them today:
    Flashback: How Republicans and the NRA Kneecapped the ATF-Thirty years ago, the National Rifle Association saved its biggest adversary from extinction. It got just what it wanted. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/01/atf-obama-gun-reform-control-alcohol-tobacco-firearms

    How the NRA Hobbled the ATF-Rules pushed by the gun lobby and its allies in Congress have left the agency unable to enforce the law. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/02/atf-gun-laws-nra

    Current gun debate may not help beleaguered ATF-Agency crippled by weak laws, paltry budgets and Congressional restrictions http://www.publicintegrity.org/2013/02/11/12155/current-gun-debate-may-not-help-beleaguered-atf

    The NRA vs. America-How the country’s biggest gun-rights group thwarts regulation and helps put military-grade weapons in the hands of killers http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-nra-vs-america-20130131
    Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-nra-vs-america-20130131#ixzz2Jb5GpVG8

  • Phillip Rogers

    The NRA is funded primarily through grassroots contributions from it’s 4+ million members and the many thousands who support them but do not wish to be listed as active members. People. Citizens. Millions of them, sending $10 or $20 to support the cause.

    Of course, the also recieve funding from industry, gun and equipment makers who support the cause. Manufacturers who can afford to send money they got from: Gun owners. Millions of them, who spend their hard earned money buying guns, and ammo, and equipment, supporting the industry, who in turn supports the NRA.

    See how that works? The NRA is so powerful, so effective, so well funded, BECAUSE THEY REPRESENT SO MANY!

    What do you think, they’re some how co-opting and misusing money that rightfully belongs to liberals?

    The NRA is protecting our RIGHTs, as afffirmed under the Constitution to keep Military Arms for the purpose of defense against all enemies, foriegn or domestic. Need is irrelevent to a right, and the government has no more right to register or track guns I own than it does to track your computer. My right to own firearms is just as valid as your right to make free speech without goverment interference or knowledge.

    The path to ending gun violence is to end the root cause of violence. Humans will always do violence to each other, the gun is just a tool. How about we end the failed drug war, a 40 year war that is the root cause of 80% of the gun violence in the US?

    Metropolitan areas with populations of more than 250,000 is where the majority of the gun violence occurs, often where the guns are already severly restricted. Overall, gun violence is at a historic 40 year low, if the inner city drug wars were eliminated, ti would be nearly nonexistant.

    But don’t take my word for it, study the FBIs uniform crime statistics. see for yourself. Base your opinions in fact, not emotion.

    Sandy Hook, Aurora, and other mass shootings are horrific, tragic anomlys purpetrated by lunatics who cannot be predicted or stopped.

    The guns they used account for less than 1% of overall gun crime, hardly an excuse to destroy the Constiututional rights of mnillions over the acts of a few lunatics, no matter how tragic the results. Tim Mcveigh killed twice as many children and more adults than all the shooting combined with a truckload of fertilizer and some diesel fuel. Nobody wants to ban those. Lunatics will find a way. We should not base our actions on emotional responses to thse acts.

    Govern yourself with logic and base your desisions on facts.

    • mcallisterbryant

      I see how it works…Say Glock gives $115K, as they did last year. That is over 5000 “grassroots” members. And Colt, S&W, Sig, Magpul, Browning…all do the same.

      NRA is about as grassroots as the Tea Party.

      Ask your self this when telling me that NRA is protecting our rights to keep military arms…why, at their national headquarters did they conveniently omit “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” from their large marble wall. There was certainly plenty of room.

      It is interesting that you try to push the gun violence to “inner cities”, a common “it’s just THEM” ploy. The statistics [that you want ME to follow] just don’t bear out your assertions that it is inner city violence.

      Here in Kentucky, one of the most free gun states the gun violence rate per capita is higher than Illinois. And 87 percent of the victims and perps are white. And that IS from the FBI crime stats – as you might notice I tend to use as a prime reference in what I write.

      As for destroying my constitutional rights [see, I have been a gun owner for nearly 50 years as well], We have the right to KEEP ARMS and the right to BEAR ARMS…and there is nothing in the 40 bills in Congress right now that goes against our constitutional rights. You might read Justice Alito in Heller to get some perspective.

      I am a systems analyst…I govern ALL my opinions on logic and facts. It appears you just don’t like to read them.

      Your argument fails because you somehow believe that I [and the folks introducing legislation] want to take guns or to go against the 2nd Amendment. Yet nothing I write, and nothing in the bills say that.

      What we want is a 21st Century solution to violence, not hide behind an 18th Century concept. It is how we address the 1st Amendment and the 4th Amendment…They have restrictions, they have legislation that addresses the 21st Century issues that the founders never thought of.

      Those are the facts and the logic.

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