Some gun rights advocates are urging lawmakers to defund the federal government over what they see as a major threat to the Second Amendment.
Gun Owners of America (GOA) says Republicans should vote against a trillion-dollar government funding package Thursday afternoon that would avert another shutdown in Washington, because it would also provide more than $1 billion in support for “Barack ObamaBarack ObamaThe US should give peace a chance when it comes to North Korea Obama photographer gets book deal Time for GOP panic? MORE’s anti-gun executive actions.”
“It ‘fights gun violence’ with $1.1 billion — an increase of $53 million,” said GOA’s chairman and executive director Tim Macy.
“We all know this is a euphemism for gun control, and there is nothing which prevents the administration from using this money to support its anti-gun ‘executive action’ agenda,” he added.
But the most prominent gun rights group, the National Rifle Association, seems to disagree.
The NRA wrote to House Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerLobbyists bounce back under Trump Business groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee Chaffetz won't run for reelection MORE (R-Ohio) expressing strong support for the government funding bill, because of what it refers to as a "pro-gun provision" that would protect hunters.
"For years, radical animal rights and environmental advocates have used all the tools at their disposal, including litigation, to attempt to ban lead ammunition," the NRA writes. "A ban on traditional ammunition would affect hunters, sportsmen, law enforcement, military and target shooters — whether or not they hunt. There are currently no comparable alternatives to lead ammunition in terms of cost, ballistics and availability. This bill would prevent a traditional ammunition ban and protect not just hunters, but millions of American gun owners."
However, Gun Owners of America spokesman Erich Pratt said he is more concerned about funding that would go toward gun control efforts underway at the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Under the proposed government funding bill, the ATF would see its budget increased by $22 million, according to Pratt.
GOA finds this particularly egregious at a time when the ATF is still reeling from its failed “Fast and Furious” sting operation that let guns slip into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
“We don’t think ATF deserves a raise,” Pratt said. “ATF misused its money for risky operations, which have channeled guns to Mexican drug cartels. Instead of stepping back, we’re rewarding them with a big increase in funding.”
Pratt is particularly upset about what he claims is an attempt by the ATF to collect the names of gun owners from dealers to create regional gun registries.
But the ATF denied Pratt's claims.
Pratt also express frustrations about an increase of $13 million in funding that would go to the FBI to support the "widely abused" National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
GOA criticized funding for states like New York to create databases of people with mental illnesses.
Macy called it a “war against veterans with PTSD.”
Pratt also criticized $3 million in funding aimed at encouraging gun owners to buy gun locks.
"If a criminal is standing over your bed at 3 a.m. pointing a gun over you and you have a gun lock on your gun, you’re dead,” he said.
But GOA's frustration is not only with law enforcement agencies. The group also claims ObamaCare is “anti-gun” and said the president’s signature healthcare law should not be fully funded for that reason.
Pratt pointed to ObamaCare policies that leave the door open for insurance companies to charge gun owners higher prices and push doctors to keep a list of patients who own guns.
"We think ObamaCare is anti-gun and we have problems that it has been fully funded,” he said.
GOA is encouraging Republicans to shoot down the government funding bill over these concerns.
"We’re particularly irritated with Republicans who campaigned on the basis that, ‘We don’t like amnesty, we don’t like ObamaCare, we don’t like gun control,’ and then turn around and fund all of those things,” Pratt said.