For Release: Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Washington, DC – Following today’s failed cloture vote on the omnibus spending bill (H.R. 2673), VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand released the following statement:
The gun lobby loaded up the omnibus spending bill with provisions that would help arm criminals and protect corrupt gun dealers. The U.S. Senate wisely rejected the bill by failing to invoke cloture. Today’s vote is a win for public safety.
The most egregious gun lobby-sponsored provision would drastically reduce the time that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) can retain records of approved gun sales from the current 90 days to a maximum of 24 hours. A June 2002 General Accounting Office (GAO) study conducted for Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) found that 228 of the 235 (97 percent) firearm retrievals initiated during the first six months of the current 90-day rule could not have been done under a 24-hour rule. Simply put, that means that 228 prohibited persons (i.e. felons, persons convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors, fugitives, etc.) would have been able to keep their illegal guns.
Other provisions would benefit gun dealers who sell to criminals by prohibiting public release of any information regarding firearms production or sale required to be kept by gun dealers and manufacturers. ATF would also be prohibited from finalizing a proposed August 2000 rule requiring gun dealers to conduct an annual physical inventory. The purpose of the proposed rule is to allow dealers to identify missing and stolen firearms and report them to ATF in a timely fashion. This would help alleviate situations such as the alleged circumstances surrounding the assault rifle used by the Washington, DC-area snipers in October 2002. In that case, the snipers used a Bushmaster XM15 assault rifle allegedly stolen from Bull’s Eye Shooter Supply. Bull’s Eye claimed that they did not discover that the gun was stolen until ATF traced the sniper gun to the store.