The NRA undermines enforcement of gun-safety regulation

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

A new Center for American Progress report details how the NRA has quietly made enforcing existing gun laws nearly impossible by sneaking so-called “riders” into annual appropriations bills funding various
government functions in order to avoid scrutiny in the regular
legislative process. How The NRA Secretly Protects People Who Commit Crimes With Guns:

The CAP report outlines several key riders the NRA has used to
cripple gun regulation, mainly by weakening the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives:

Banned the ATF from managing its own data. Through
riders, the NRA has stripped the ATF of its independence and limited the
agency’s ability to manage its own data. Since 1979, the ATF has been
banned from consolidating its gun sales records into a centralized
database, making it extremely difficult for the agency and law
enforcement to track guns in crimes. As the CAP report notes, “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.” In 2004, the ATF was further restricted
from disclosing any data on guns found at crime scenes to the public.
Research indicates that real ATF prosecution can deter gun dealers
from selling to criminals; currently, one percent of gun dealers sell
half the guns used in crimes. Obama’s gun prevention plan, smeared as “tyranny”
by gun advocates, would finally appoint a director to the ATF for the
first time in six years and give the agency better resources to create a
gun trafficking database.

Prevented the ATF from tracking stolen guns. The ATF
is officially responsible for inspecting and overseeing licensed
firearms dealers. But in 2004, the gun lobby successfully pushed a rider
to specifically prevent the ATF from requiring dealers to conduct an
annual inventory. As a result, tens of thousands of lost and stolen guns
go unreported every year. In 2011, nearly 18,500 guns were unaccounted
for during 13,100 firearms inspections. Due to this rider, the ATF has
no way of discovering or penalizing gun dealers regularly lose track of
firearms. Nor can they determine what guns were lost or when — until
they show up at crime scenes.

Strangled research into gun violence. The Center for
Disease Control and Prevention released a comprehensive gun violence
study as part of their public health research in 1993. Infuriated by the
study, the NRA successfully lobbied to kill
almost all funding for gun violence studies. Many of the statistics
used in the gun debate today are decades-old, as new gun violence
research has become virtually nonexistent. Since the 1996 rider
preventing the CDC from spending money to “advocate or promote gun
control,” gun research has dropped 95 percent, from $2.5 million in
1993-1996 to $100,000 in 2009-2012. Obama’s gun violence prevention plan
would lift the ban on gun research funding and order the CDC to initiate a new comprehensive study.

On Thursday, Congress passed a spending measure to keep the government funded through September. But quietly snuck into that spending measure were several NRA riders designed to undermine the current gun-safety bills moving through Congress. The First Federal Gun Laws To Pass Since Newtown Are All NRA Approved:

Thursday night, Congress passed the first federal legislation
addressing firearms since the tragedy at Newtown, Connecticut. But while
one might think the new laws would tighten federal restrictions aimed
at preventing criminals from getting guns, the reality is the opposite:
all of them are National Rifle Association (NRA) promoted laws that
actually weaken federal firearm law.

Six gun provisions were passed as riders attached to the resolution
funding the government through September on Thursday. While all six had
been federal law since 2004, each was approved by Congress on a
year-to-year basis only. Now, four of the provisions are permanent.
According to National Public Radio‘s Tamara Keith, the NRA “is the driving force behind these provisions.” Here they are:

1) Limit enforcement tools against crooked dealers.
One rider would prevent Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF)
agents from shutting down gun stores due to “due to a lack of business
activity,” arguably a sign of criminal sales.

2) Shield gun dealers who “lose” their guns. This
legislation precludes any federal law that requires gun retailers to
count their guns and submit the results as a mechanism of determining
whether any weapons have been lost or stolen.

3) Interfere with ATF gun trace reports. The ATF is
now mandated to include, in any reports concerning its tracing of guns
back to crime, that trace data “cannot be used to draw broad conclusions
about firearms-related crime.” Academic work on guns has used trace
data to firmly establish that several firearm regulations effectively prevent the spread of guns to criminal.

4) Expand the class of protected guns. According to Roll Call‘s John Gramlich, the fourth permanent law would “place a broad definition of antique guns and ammunition that may be imported into the United States.”

The NRA is committed to preventing any effective regulation of weapons and ammunition as the chief lobbyist for the merchants of death. These soulless creatures only care about profiting from the sale of their wares, they do not care how many people, including children, are killed or injured as a consequence of their unbridled greed.

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