Here's your Congress at work, still doing the bidding of the NRA and Wayne LaPierre when they hope no one is paying attention. As Zack Beauchamp at Think Progress noted, you'd think that after the tragic shooting at Newtown any new gun regulations would tighten regulations and make it harder for criminals to attain them, but sadly, just the opposite is true.
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.”
As Martin Bashir pointed out in his rant above, the NRA's Wayne LaPierre might be crazy, but he's crazy like a Fox when it comes to the success of his lobbying efforts.