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Editorial: ATF Needs More Authority to Stop Illegal Gun Sales

Newsday
Editorial

Congress should unshackle the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the fight against illegal guns. Restrictions on the bureau’s activities are hobbling efforts to combat firearms trafficking and reduce the day-to-day gun violence plaguing the nation.

Americans have a constitutional right to own guns. And licensed gun dealers who operate legally must have nothing to fear from regulators. But most guns that find their way into the hands of madmen and criminals begin that journey in a legal sale. Better policing of the border between legal and illegal ownership is just common sense.

The first thing the Senate should do is confirm a permanent director for the ATF. It hasn’t had one since 2006, when Congress, nudged by gun-rights lobbyists, made Senate confirmation necessary. Since then neither Republican George W. Bush nor Democrat Barack Obama managed to find a nominee who could successfully run that gantlet.

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Comment from lgwatson
Time January 7, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Prosecutions for firearms laws violations are down during this admin.

From 1966 (Univ. of Texas tower shooting) to 1996 (Gun Free School Zones Act), there were approximately 8 school shootings with 134 killed or wounded. From 1996 to 2012, there were 62 shootings with 367 victims.

From 2004 (expiration of the Brady Bill) to 2011, FBI statistics indicate violent crime decreased by 17 percent.

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