ONCE AGAIN, THE NRA SHOWS
IT’S THE CRIMINAL’S BEST FRIEND
On The Eve Of House Hearing, Brady Campaign Condemns
Gun Lobby’s Scurrilous Attacks On Law Enforcement Efforts
For Immediate Release:
02-14-2006 Contact Communications:
Washington D.C. – Pressed by the National Rifle Association, a House subcommittee will be holding a hearing Wednesday afternoon on what the NRA is scurrilously calling “abuse” by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), as well as state and local law enforcement, in an investigation of Virginia gun shows.
Those that were allegedly “abused” include wanted felons, drug abusers and people who sold guns to murderers.
The NRA wanted these hearings because they are unhappy with an ATF crackdown on crimes at gun shows, particularly a series of investigations into gun shows in the Richmond, Virginia area. One reason this is odd is that the investigation was part of the effort called “Project Exile,” which was launched with NRA support and fanfare some years back. But even more odd is that the results of the law enforcement scrutiny of the Richmond area gun shows was a startling number of arrests for significant crimes and misdemeanors. As the ATF stated in a letter to the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee:
As part of ATF’s role in reducing violent crime and enforcing firearms laws, we have been involved in investigations at gun shows. Such investigations have shown that prohibited persons, such as felons, buy firearms at these shows. ATF’s enforcement efforts at gun shows also indicate that firearms illegally diverted at or through gun shows have been recovered in subsequent crimes, such as homicide and robbery. For example, since May 2004, firearms used in four homicides have been linked to transactions occurring at gun shows in the Richmond area.” [underline added.]
Earlier in the letter, the ATF had noted:
Preliminary Virginia State Police data show that enforcement efforts from Richmond area gun shows during 2004-2005 resulted in arrests for the following violations of State and Federal laws: Making false statements on ATF Form 4473 (17 violations); Felon in Possession of a Firearm (2); Straw Purchase of a Firearm (13); Possession of Marijuana (5); Possession of Cocaine (1); Felony Fugitive Apprehension (7); Misdemeanor Fugitive Apprehension (5); Carrying a Concealed Weapon (5); and Grand Larceny – Theft of Firearm (1).
“Clearly, this was a very successful law enforcement effort. The Brady Campaign applauds the ATF, Virginia State Police, and the local police for their hard work,” said Michael D. Barnes, President of the Brady Campaign. “The gun lobby always claims that the solution to gun violence is for law enforcement to enforce the laws already on the books – but its attacks on this law enforcement operation and Project Exile – which the NRA itself has endorsed – show its true colors.”
NRA attacks against law enforcement are nothing new. In fact, this is one of its standard tactics. Many Americans remember President Bush’s father, George Herbert Walker Bush, resigning from the NRA when the organization called ATF “jack-booted government thugs.”
One of the principal rhetorical arguments of the NRA has been “enforce the gun laws on the books instead of passing new ones.” It is reasonable to assert that the ATF officers were doing precisely that – enforcing the laws on the books. The ATF was participating in this investigation with local law enforcement “as part of Virginia's Project Exile Program,” according to the ATF letter.
Ideally, this House hearing would lay the groundwork for a strengthening of gun laws, and more resources for the ATF. Regrettably, because the gun lobby’s allies are firmly in control, Congress will likely continue in exactly the opposite direction.
“The legacy of this Congress on gun violence is shameful,” Sarah Brady said today. “The gun lobby has been granted special favors at the expense of the public’s safety.” These include riders in appropriations bills that limit ATF’s effectiveness, and sweeping legal protections for the gun industry that prevent gun violence victims from holding reckless gun sellers accountable in the courts.
In recent months, community leaders across the country have rallied to stop gun violence. In New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and many other cities, Mayors are urging that Congress do something about illegal guns. “It appears that instead of trying to do something productive,” Barnes said, “the NRA’s friends in Congress are on a mission to intimidate the ATF out of enforcing even the laws on the books. It’s a deeply troubling dynamic.”
For a variety of documents about the gun show investigation, visit www.bradycampaign.org.
I have no problem with the above. No doubt Brady left out where ATF called the gun buyers homes & asked questions of their neighbors?????!!!!!!!
why do we keep getting only half the story from the .gov???