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Let's Stop Gun Violence by Retiring These NRA Riders on Appropriations Bills

Let's Stop Gun Violence by Retiring These NRA Riders on Appropriations Bills

Picture of Martha Rosenberg

 

Last week's NRA convention had something to offend everyone-- a bleeding Obama zombie target, promotion of aerial killing of animals and a salute to the NRA's youngest member, three-year-old Elaih Wagan from Texas.

 

But the NRA's extremism may backfire, pun intended. By opposing laws that an estimated 90 percent of the nation wants, it now faces a "new willingness of gun-state lawmakers, particularly Democrats, to buck the NRA; and the rise of an organized and well-funded gun-control movement," says the Washington Post. Nor can the NRA maintain its giddy triumphalism when the next massacre occurs--and most say people say "when" not "if."

 

And there is another way gun safety activists are standing up to the NRA. They are increasingly challenging pro-gun and pro-criminal riders sneaked through on appropriation bills where they remain permanently--a tactic the gun lobby has used for 30 years.

 

One rider, tacked on to the 2013 funding bill for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation and more by the gun lobby actually prohibits the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from requiring firearms dealers in four border states to report the sale of multiple rifles or shotguns to a single individual. Let's get those bad guys!

 

Another rider, enacted in 1979, prohibits the ATF from creating a centralized database of gun sales records already in its possession. Yes, the "let's get those criminals" NRA pushed through legislation that blocks law enforcement officers' access to gun records when a gun is recovered at a crime scene. Whose side are they on?

 

The riders even prohibit the ATF from putting the records of gun sales when dealers go out of business into an electronic, searchable database. "ATF receives an average of 1.3 million records from out-of-business dealers each month, and it is forced to keep these records in boxes in warehouses or on microfiche," says the Center for American Progress. Thank you, NRA.

Over a dozen such riders are passed each year, says the Center, which block gun-regulation and crime fighting and "undermine any new legislation that Congress may pass." Unlike the defeated background check bill, these riders usually receive no debate or discussion yet they shape our national gun policies at their very foundation.

 

When a rider prohibiting the ATF from requiring firearms dealers in four border states to report multiple arms sales to a single individual was tacked on to a 2013 appropriations bill last year, President Obama called the maneuver "problematic policy and language riders that have no place in a spending bill."

 

The National Gun Victims Action Council joins the Center for American Progress in calling on the President to remove all similar, dangerous riders in this year's appropriations bill--his first budget proposal to Congress since the Newtown shootings. In the interests of a clean budget, we ask Congress to conduct an open debate about the deadly pro-gun, pro-criminal riders muscled through as riders by the NRA year after year.

 

 

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