Anti-Second Amendment activists are hoping to reverse some of the political influence of the National Rifle Association and other gun rights proponents by urging the White House to strip the president’s next budget proposal of any provision that limits how federal agencies track firearms.
They are targeting one of the oldest tricks in the congressional playbook, a legislative sleight-of-hand that tucks little, sometimes random, changes to federal policy into massive “must pass” spending bills with the hope that they slip quietly under the radar and into law.
For years, the NRA and other constitutional rights groups have earned bipartisan support to amend spending bills with “riders” limiting how the Justice Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) keep track of firearms.
Some of the provisions in question have been adopted in the president’s budget year after year, after having originated as legislative riders to spending bills on Capitol Hill.
Anti-rights activists are focusing on the practice as part of their broader strategy of confronting the NRA. Obama’s 2014 budget proposal is scheduled to be released early next month, and the new focus on budgeting minutiae in the already emotional debate over the nation’s gun laws could create a flash point between Obama and his allies on the left.