Battling Gun Control: GOP Legislation Would Diminish DOJ’s Ability To Impose Gun Control Measures

Brandishing the power of the purse, Republicans are attempting to block the Obama administration’s gun control regulations. The legislation to fund the Department of Justice is a plentiful source of GOP-backed language with the purpose of thwarting the Obama administration’s anti-gun regulations.

The Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill, which recently sailed through the House, contains several provisions targeting the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) rule-making authority.

Under this measure, the ATF would be prohibited from:

  • Banning certain types of armor-piercing ammunition
  • Blocking the importation of military-style shotguns
  • Creating a gun registry
  • Requiring racial and ethnic disclosures when purchasing a gun
  • Continuing to collect information about certain semi-automatic rifles that are sold close to the southwest border
  • Providing guns for drug cartels as part of sting operations

“We need to stop the Obama administration from making end-run around Congress on gun control,” says Jennifer Baker, National Rifle Association spokeswoman. The bill, which was approved in the House by a 242-183 tally, would also prevent the DOJ from using any of the funds to enforce certain gun regulations. The bill also bars future action:

“…the ATF’s proposed — and later withdrawn — ban on certain forms of armor-piercing ammunition used in AR-15 rifles.  Gun control advocates cheered the agency for moving forward with the rule in February.

But the effort met with fierce blowback from the gun lobby and congressional Republicans, who noted that the ammunition is popular among hunters and contended that the proposed regulation would infringe on the Second Amendment.”


“Eventually, the ATF relented and pulled back the bullet ban, but the agency left the door open to reconsider the rule in the future.”

So, to ensure this doesn’t happen again, Republicans included multiple provisions, authored by Reps. [mc_name name=’Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’H001067′ ] (R-NC) and [mc_name name=’Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001184′ ] (R-KY), in the bill banning future action. Essentially, the ATF was put on notice to keep its “hands off our guns.”

[mc_name name=’Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’I000057′ ] (D-NY), however, is very displeased with the measure, calling it irresponsible. Israel says he opposes the provisions because these additions could derail the bill in the Senate, imperiling all Justice Department programs. “Once again, the Republicans are governing dangerously by offering a poison pill amendment that jeopardizes the safety of our law enforcement and first responders,” he opined. “Congress should be passing common-sense gun safety laws to save lives and keep our men and women in uniform safe — not caving to the reckless demands of the gun lobby.”

One of the most troubling ATF requirements, according to Republicans, is having to disclose race and ethnicity when purchasing a gun. [mc_name name=’Rep. Diane Black (R-TN)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B001273′ ] (R-TN) pointed out the ATF should be “colorblind” when it comes to guns. “We all want to see weapons kept out of the hands of criminals, but an individual’s race and ethnicity has nothing to do with their ability to safely own and operate a firearm,” she said.

At around the same time the GOP sponsored bill was voted on, the “Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act of 2015″ was introduced by Democrats. According to Jan Morgan, if passed, this law would:

“1) FORCE you to submit a photo ID in-person every time you purchase any ammunition;

2) REPORT you to Obama’s anti-gun U.S. Attorney General if you purchase more than 1,000 rounds within a five day period;

3) REGISTER ammunition buyers like you in a database maintained by Obama’s bureaucrats at the Department of Justice.

According to the bill’s chief sponsor, this new law would give the Obama administration the power to ‘monitor’ law-abiding gun owners and ‘flag them for law enforcement.’”

Sponsored by two Democrats from New Jersey, Representatives [mc_name name=’Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’P000034′ ] Jr. and [mc_name name=’Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’P000604′ ], the bill already has 30 cosponsors. Track the status of the bill here and the GOP bill here.

But, that’s not all the Democrats were busy with last week. [mc_name name=’Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000133′ ] (D-MA) and [mc_name name=’Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M000087′ ] (D-NY) introduced legislation to authorize the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to give 60 million taxpayer dollars to anti-gun activists over the next six years, so that they can conduct “research” promoting gun control. According to Legal Insurrection, “Markey and Maloney say, anti-gun research is necessary to stop the ‘gun violence . . . epidemic,’ which Maloney implies is increasing. Words have meaning, however. An epidemic is a sudden and severe outbreak of an infectious disease throughout a community, and ‘gun violence’ isn’t a disease, it’s not widespread, it doesn’t affect all segments of the population equally, and it’s been decreasing, not increasing.”

H.R. 2612 can be viewed and tracked here.