Monday, February 28, 2011

Yet another act of Congressional cowardice

Not quite related to my post about the ATF scandal of aiding and abetting gunrunners, but a step in a better direction.

LATimes editorial

For years, U.S. officials have been promising to clamp down on gun-runners who supply drug cartels and human smugglers. Now, the Obama administration has the opportunity to make good on that pledge, by granting a request by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to track bulk sales of semiautomatic long guns. The new rule would require the 8,500 licensed gun shops in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas to report to the agency any sale of two or more rifles of greater than .22 caliber to the same person over five days.

Unsurprisingly, the National Rifle Assn. and its allies in Washington oppose this perfectly reasonable proposal. The administration, however, shouldn't be cowed by Congress, which, in a rare and unexpected show of bipartisanship, has vowed to foil the plan.

Earlier this month, the House voted 277 to 149 to block the ATF's request by barring the use of federal funds. Lawmakers contend that it threatens Americans' 2nd Amendment rights and creates an undue paperwork burden on gun sellers. But the rule would merely allow the ATF to track bulk gun sales. Americans would remain free to buy as many guns as they wish — more, frankly, than we'd like. Furthermore, gun sellers are already subject to similar reporting requirements involving multiple sales of handguns.

Lawmakers are less concerned about the Constitution than the cash that could be spent against them if they anger the NRA.

That's disgusting. And typical.

[...] As modest as the ATF's plan is, it's far better than what Congress is offering: the continued flow of instruments of death across a dangerous border.

And another call for leadership goes unanswered.

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