Political Report: The Tiahrt Amendment

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

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POLITICAL REPORT

CHRIS COX, NRA-ILA Executive Director

Ronald Reagan put it this way four decades ago: "The only choice we have is up or down--up, to the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down, to the deadly dullness of totalitarianism."

As you know by now, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will stop at nothing in his effort to push his pet anti-gun agenda.

Bloomberg is focused on convincing the Congress to delete the Tiahrt Amendment from an upcoming spending bill. That amendment protects the privacy rights of all retail gun buyers by preventing fishing expeditions into sensitive batfe trace data--particularly by politicians hell-bent on filing baseless lawsuits.

The amendment does not prevent the release of tracing data related to bona fide criminal investigations. And it did not keep the New York City police from quickly tracing the firearms used in the criminal shooting that inspired Bloomberg's testy outburst. One of the two firearms was purchased legally in Missouri, and the other was purchased in Arizona in the 1980s. The suspect had lived in both states.

But Bloomberg isn't used to not getting his way. When he wants something bad enough, he just uses his immense personal fortune to buy it.

That's really all that tracing data can tell the investigators. It doesn't prove anything more than the original point of retail sale for any given firearm. And that's why politicians and the public at large have no business poking around in it.

But Bloomberg's tirade went well beyond the point where the facts matter.

A New York Post article on the radio interview said that Bloomberg "also called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Thursday to urge her to act--and said that if she didn't, she'd have blood on her hands, according to the mayor."

Bloomberg's rant continued, according to the article. It quoted the mayor as saying: "The Democrats have said repeatedly that they blame the Republicans for no gun legislation. Well, now they're in charge. ok, stand up. And if not, I'm going to tell everybody."

So, according to the mayor, if Pelosi doesn't ramrod his agenda through the Congress, he is going to tattle on her--to everybody! Even though it would do nothing to solve this particular shooting, or to prevent any others.

We've seen the mayor do his tattletale routine before. Earlier this year, lawmakers in Virginia passed a bill that would prevent Bloomberg from invading the shops of gun dealers in the state with his vigilante posse of private eyes.

Virginia lawmakers must have taken the wisdom of the U.S. Department of Justice to heart. The Justice Department told Bloomberg to refrain from staging any more of his phony "sting" operations in a strong letter that said: "You should be aware that there are potential legal liabilities that may attach when persons outside of law enforcement undertake actions typically reserved for law enforcement agents ... .

In addition, civilian efforts can unintentionally interrupt or jeopardize ongoing criminal investigations."

Bloomberg dismissed the warnings in the letter, and his henchmen told the media that they would not stop their illegitimate "investigations." But the warnings were not lost on lawmakers in the Virginia capital, who passed the bill in a clear message to Bloomberg to keep his amateur gumshoes out of their state's borders.

Bloomberg didn't appreciate having his snout whacked. He pulled all the stops to convince Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine to veto the bill. He put out the word to gun control groups that the Virginia bill imperiled his sole strategy, and they did what they were told, sending alerts in states like Illinois and Ohio, asking gun control supporters to call the governor of Virginia and persuade him to veto the bill.

He tattled on the Virginia legislature to everybody, and everybody did what he wanted them to do. Could his infantile protests possibly work? Would the governor of Virginia actually heed panicky calls from gun control supporters in other states? Not this time, apparently. Kaine signed the bill, putting Virginia firmly off-limits to Bloomberg's Keystone Kapers.

But Bloomberg isn't used to not getting his way. When he wants something bad enough, he just uses his immense personal fortune to buy it. This is not conjecture--as Casey Stengel would say, "You can look it up." Bloomberg spent $85 million of his own money to become mayor, setting a record for a self-financed campaign.

Buying his election also spared him from the tedious political chores of having to build support and raise funds from voters. That left him free to pursue his purely personal agenda of deciding what's best for everyone else. His top priority has been mounting relentless campaigns to ban what he perceives as social ills.

He refuses to believe that the mayor of New York doesn't run the rest of the country. So now he has threatened to next put his billions behind an independent bid for president. He has publicly mused about spending half a billion dollars--yes, billion with a "b"--to hijack the 2008 presidential race. It's small change for a man with an estimated net worth of nearly $6 billion.

After buying the presidency, how would the benevolent king rule over the unwieldy gun-owning peasants? That, too, was revealed in the Post article. "Nobody's trying to ban guns," said Bloomberg with typical petulance. "That's just so ridiculous an argument. If you get a license, you can have a gun." So there. If you want to play, you just have to get permission from the rich kid.

And if he doesn't like the way you play, he'll buy the playground, change the rules and shut you out. And then he'll tell everybody. Since he can't do it himself, he now wants Speaker Pelosi to fight the big kids for him.

You and I know these politicians are deadly serious about stripping away our Second Amendment rights. We can't let them. Ronald Reagan put it this way four decades ago: "The only choice we have is up or down--up, to the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down, to the deadly dullness of totalitarianism."


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