‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the Times, not a Second Amendment supporter was stirring, not even a mouse . . . The Gray Lady’s pre-Xmas ed At Last, a Border Crackdown had me thinking that the paper was trumpeting some new administrative initiative to seal America’s porous southern border. Nope. The paper urged the Obama-crats at the Office of Management and Budget to hurry-up and rubber stamp the new initiative from the the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires) which would enable the ATF to register long gun owners who purchase two rifles within five days. Strangely, the words “emergency” and “temporary” and “public consultation” were missing from the polemic. Instead, they wanted to put even more power under the ATF’s Christmas tree . . .
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, led by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston, urged the Obama administration to create such an initiative more than a year ago. Until now, the White House has ducked the issue, presumably to help the prospects of those Democrats with top ratings from the National Rifle Association. But this has not helped to stop the traffic.
The N.R.A. is predictably opposed to the initiative. The administration must hold its ground and, beginning in January, press the next Congress to remove statutory limitations hampering the A.T.F.’s ability to shut down irresponsible dealers near the border and elsewhere.
I’m glad that the National Rifle Association’s opposition to gun registration—clearly and specifically illegal under the Gun Control Act of 1968—is so predictable. I’m not so glad that the Times has so much faith in a government’s ability to wield power responsibly. Especially the ATF, whose Project Gunrunner efforts to “crack down” on gun smuggling on the Mexican border were eviscerated and excoriated by the Inspector General.
The Times and its camp followers still don’t get it: the public wants limitations on government power. That’s what the Tea Party movement is all about. Meanwhile, calling for the ATF to shut down “irresponsible” gun dealers without defining the term, or proving that they need new powers to do so, is irresponsible. And calling this initiative a “crackdown” is somewhere between funny and seditious.