Hoyer: Critics of gun reform motivated by profit

Hoyer: Critics of gun reform motivated by profit
 
Profits, not principles, are fueling the criticisms of President Obama's new gun control policies, Rep. Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerMcCarthy: ‘No deadline on DACA’ Lawmakers see shutdown’s odds rising Hoyer suggests Dems won't support spending bill without DACA fix MORE (D-Md.) charged Tuesday.
 
"It plays into the narrative of those who want to raise money and expand their organization by raising false fears in the minds of people," Hoyer told reporters in the Capitol.
 
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The Democratic whip said Obama's unilateral actions pose no threat to Second Amendment rights for law-abiding people, as some critics contend, and suggested that any such claims are driven by financial gain.
 
"This is good policy that he's been proposing. I don't think it ought to raise fears in anybody, and it certainly shouldn't raise a run on purchasing guns or ammunition," Hoyer said. "Why? There's been no state, no state legislature — nor are there the votes in the Congress of the United States — to take away people's guns. Period. 
 
"It's an unfounded fear fomented by those who profit from that fear."
 
Unveiled Tuesday morning, Obama's unilateral actions are designed to rein in gun violence by expanding background checks to more gun sales, beefing up the FBI staff charged with conducting those background screenings and installing new notification requirements when guns are lost or stolen. 
 
In an emotional speech from the White House, Obama framed the changes as important, if modest, steps well within his power to take.
 
"Until we have a Congress that’s in line with the majority of Americans, there are actions within my legal authority that we can take to help reduce gun violence and save more lives — actions that protect our rights and our kids," Obama said.  
 
Republicans and gun groups had a decidedly different take, accusing the president of overstepping his executive authority and trampling on constitutional rights. 
 
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Obama's action is "a form of intimidation that undermines liberty." 
 
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), head of the House Judiciary Committee, charged the administration with repeated attempts "to undermine the Second Amendment." 
 
And the National Rifle Association (NRA), the country's largest firearms group, accused the president of delivering "condescending lectures that are completely devoid of facts."
 
"The timing of this announcement, in the eighth and final year of his presidency, demonstrates not only political exploitation but a fundamental lack of seriousness," Chris Cox, the head of the NRA's lobbying arm, said in a statement.
 
The NRA, though, wasn't always opposed to the expanded background checks at the center of Obama's unilateral reforms. In May of 1999, just a month after a mass shooting left a dozen students dead at Columbine High School in Colorado, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre told lawmakers that the group supported such an expansion.
 
"We think it's reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show," LaPierre, now the NRA's CEO, testified before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime. "No loopholes anywhere for anyone."
 
The switch hasn't been overlooked by Obama and other gun reformers, who have long accused the Republicans of being beholden to the NRA's demands at the expense of public safety.
 
"All of us," Obama said Tuesday, "need to demand a Congress brave enough to stand up to the gun lobby’s lies."