According to a headline in The New York Times today, "Both Sides in Gun Debate Agree: Punish Background-Check Liars." Really? Is that true?
The story goes on to say,
... the White House has said it is looking for actions it can take without Congressional approval. Increasing the number of prosecutions for lying on background-check forms is an effort that the administration can undertake largely on its own, in part by pressing federal prosecutors to pursue such cases. It is also one measure that both sides of the gun-control debate have agreed upon.If you were from another planet and you read this, you'd think that, all along, both sides of this debate were in favor of having the feds pursue more gun crimes, this crime in particular. But when has the gun lobby ever shown any evidence of genuinely supporting more federal gun prosecutions?
Oh, sure, the gunners and their legislative and media lackeys like to say that we should enforce existing laws better. But they say this only when someone declares that we need some new gun regulations. And yes, certain outlets of the pro-gun-lobby media pointed out that gun prosecutions have gone down in the Obama years, relative to the Bush years. But the latter point was made only after the Sandy Hook shootings, as a way of preemptively discrediting any call for new gun laws on the part of the administration.
When have you known the NRA to use its very powerful bully pulpit to demand legislative or executive action that would increase gun-crime prosecutions? Has the NRA ever called for an increase in ATF's budget, or the FBI's, specifically targeted to this kind of prosecution? Has the NRA ever offered a specific proposal for more enforcement? Have any of the many NRA A-rated members of Congress ever offered such proposals?
We know why no one on the liberal/moderate side of this issue has demanded more efforts at prosecution: fear of the gun lobby. But now we hear that the gun lobby wanted more prosecutions all along. So why didn't the gun lobby say so? Why not draft model legislation? Why not announce that a vote in Congress for more prosecutions would be scored as a pro-NRA vote? Wouldn't it have been absurdly easy to get this to happen if the gun lobby announced it was in favor? Who would have been against? Funny we never heard any such thing.