Gun rights groups are making a vigorous push to stop the Senate from confirming Loretta Lynch as President Obama’s next attorney general.
Advocates are organizing petitions, drawing up letters and hitting the phones to urge Senate Republicans to oppose Lynch in a floor vote that could take place as early as next week.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has sent an alert to its members warning that Obama’s nominee would put gun rights at risk.
"As the nation's top law enforcement officer, Lynch would almost certainly have an impact on our Second Amendment rights,” the NRA’s lobbying arm said in the alert.
The nomination of Lynch, a former federal prosecutor who was nominated to replace Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderChristie, Pompeo named co-chairs of GOP redistricting group Democrats look to state courts as redistricting battle heats up On The Trail: Census kicks off a wild redistricting cycle MORE, has been in limbo since late last year. A floor vote on her nomination was put off this week due to a fight in the Senate over an anti-human-trafficking bill.
Gun groups are capitalizing on the delay to drum up opposition to Lynch, who needs the support of at least four Republicans to be confirmed, should Vice President Biden cast a vote in a 50-50 tie.
The NRA says it is concerned that Lynch would support gun control measures such as an assault weapons ban, while other gun groups are warning she could become "Eric Holder 2.0.”
“Given her close personal and professional ties to this lawless administration, gun owners fully expect her to be Eric Holder 2.0,” said Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights.
Joseph Neville, a spokesman for the group, said senators are feeling the pressure. He said several Republican offices have asked him to keep a tight lid on the petition.
“Disgraced anti-gun Attorney General Eric Holder is calling it quits,” the petition reads. “But make no mistake, Obama is determined to ram through his gun-control agenda and has hand-picked Loretta Lynch."
The Gun Owners of America, meanwhile, is drafting a letter along with about 20 other groups that will be sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump seeking challenger to McConnell as Senate GOP leader: report Budget chairman: Debt ceiling fight 'a ridiculous position to be in' Buckle up for more Trump, courtesy of the Democratic Party MORE (R-Ky.).
The letter, which was obtained exclusively by The Hill, refers to Lynch as “Eric Holder in a skirt” and asks McConnell not to bring her nomination to the floor unless Democrats can find the 60 supporters needed to break a filibuster.
The group’s letter reminds McConnell that it campaigned against Senate Democrats in the 2012 elections so that the upper chamber would be under Republican control.
“Please do not use the Lynch nomination to tell us that, whoever nominally controls the Senate in 2017, [Sen.] Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDemocrats say Biden must get more involved in budget fight Biden looks to climate to sell economic agenda Justice Breyer issues warning on remaking Supreme Court: 'What goes around comes around' MORE [D-Nev.] and/or [Sen.] Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE [D.N.Y.] will continue to control it in fact. To do so would signal that the 2016 Senate elections don't matter,” the letter states.
Lynch enjoys universal support from Democrats and four Republicans have publicly endorsed her, likely giving her at least 50 votes.
McConnell earlier this week delayed the confirmation vote until the Senate wraps up debate on the human trafficking bill, but has previously indicated he will eventually bring the nomination to the floor.
Many prominent Senate Republicans plan to oppose Lynch because she endorsed Obama’s executive actions on immigration, which would defer deportations for millions of people.
The Gun Owners of America group notes Lynch’s stance on the immigration actions in its letter, saying she has “made it clear she intends to pursue and defend her predecessor's unlawful executive amnesty.”
Democrats have blasted the delay in Lynch’s nomination, with the White House this week calling it “unconscionable” that she has yet to see a vote.
Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants Democrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema MORE (D-Ill.) on Wednesday suggested race has played a role in the fight, arguing Republicans have forced Lynch to "sit in the back of the bus."
"The Republican majority leader announced ... that he was going to hold this nomination of Loretta Lynch until the bill which is pending before the Senate passes, whenever that may be," Durbin said.
"And so Loretta Lynch, the first African-American woman nominated to be attorney general, is asked to sit in the back of the bus when it comes to the Senate calendar. That is unfair. It's unjust."
Republicans have pushed back against Durbin’s remarks, calling them offensive.