Earlier this month, the National Rifle Association leaked a furtively obtained internal Justice Department memo in which a leading official in the Administration of President Barack Obama mused that a ban on so-called assault weapons and large ammunition magazines coupled with a more stringent background check system would have no impact in reducing the availability of certain firearms.
Instead, the official opined, a national gun registration and confiscation system would have to be put into place to eliminate the guns the Obama Administration and certain lawmakers are hell bent to ban.
If the Presidential Administration’s goal is to ban certain firearms incrementally without making obvious that the elimination of all 2nd Amendment rights is the endgame, the memo is damning in its honesty. In a nutshell, the tone is this: “Well, we could actually cut the number of gun murders by simply enforcing existing gun laws, but if you guys want to ban them, here’s how.”
From the memo:
Fatalities from mass shootings (those with 4 or more victims in a particular place and time) account on average for 35 fatalities per year. Policies that address the larger firearm homicide issue will have a far greater impact even if they do not address the particular issues of mass shootings.
The memo goes on to suggest that gun buybacks, magazine bans, background checks, assault weapon bans and the development of “smart guns” are all really fatuous things to suggest if you are a top government official serious about cutting down on gun violence.
A recent Syracuse University study backs the Justice memo’s initial assertion that gun crime would be cut drastically if existing gun laws were simply enforced. According to that report, since Obama took office, the number of gun crime prosecutions in the Nation has dropped significantly. By 2011, there were 40 percent fewer gun-related prosecutions than when they peaked in 2004 under President George W. Bush.
That study prompted members of the House Judiciary GOP to band together and sign a letter criticizing the President that has made such a policy plank of gun control for his Administrations poor record on gun crime. The letter was sent to Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.
Besides pointing out the overall low number of gun crime prosecutions, the GOP lawmakers lambasted Administration officials for failing to place high value on prosecution of paperwork violations from Federally licensed firearms dealers:
In 2010, there were 76,142 [National Instant Criminal Background Check System] denials screened by the ATF’s Denial Enforcement and NICS Intelligence (DENI) Branch. Of those screened, 4,732 denials were referred to field offices for investigation. However, only 62 prosecutions resulted from these actions,” the letter says. “A prosecution rate this low is not indicative of a Department of Justice that takes the act of illegally attempting to acquire a firearm seriously.
The lawmakers asked Holder to provide records of Justice prosecutions for Federal firearms violations over the past 11 years.
In another recent open letter to the President, Columbine survivor Evan Todd similarly criticized the Administration for gun prosecution failings:
Mr. President, these are your words: “And finally, Congress needs to help, rather than hinder, law enforcement as it does its job. We should get tougher on people who buy guns with the express purpose of turning around and selling them to criminals. And we should severely punish anybody who helps them do this.”
Why don’t we start with Eric Holder and thoroughly investigate the Fast and Furious program?
Todd also noted that it was during the initial assault weapons ban that the Columbine massacre occurred.