Thought provoking. Controversial. Presidential Puppetry is sure to raise lots of eye-brows. One of those books that inspires readers to look deep beneath the surface.

John Perkins, New York Times best-selling author of "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" and other books

Lobbyists Block Gun Safety Regulation

The gun lobby for six years has prevented confirmation of a leader for the longstanding federal agency overseeing the nation's gun laws.

That kind of lobbying success underscores the power of grassroots zealotry to paralyze Washington even when most voters oppose widespread sale of the kind of assault weapons used by a mentally disturbed man to kill 27 last week at a Connecticut school.

The Dec. 18 print edition of the Washington Post reported how gun lobbyists for six years have blocked the confirmation of any director of the Justice Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), and have targeted its funding and enforcement powers.

“For decades, the National Rifle Association has lobbied successfully to block all attempts to computerize records of gun sales, arguing against any kind of national registry of firearms ownership,” wrote reporter Sari Horwitz. “And despite the growth of the gun industry and the nation’s population, ATF has fewer agents today than it did nearly four decades ago: fewer than 2,500.”

“If the administration and Congress are serious about addressing this problem, they need to fund the gun police, the agency charged with administering the firearms regulations,” she quoted Michael Bouchard, a former ATF assistant director, as saying. “Unless they are going to do this completely, simply passing some form of gun legislation is only part of the solution.”

House Government Operations Committee Chairman Darryl Issa, right, a Republican from California, has been a dogged critic of ATF and a loyal supporter of the National Rifle Association's efforts to attack the agency.


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