Cutting the Administration’s Funding

I just got this from NRA:

Fairfax, Va. – The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today lauded the passage of H.R. 2578, the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Act (CJS), which contained strong pro-Second Amendment provisions aimed at stopping the Obama Administration from enacting its gun control agenda through executive action.

“On behalf of the NRA’s five-million members, I want to thank House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers and House CJS subcommittee Chairman John Culberson for their leadership in fighting against the Obama-Bloomberg gun control agenda,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director NRA-ILA. “Their hard work and unwavering commitment to protecting our freedoms resulted in a strong pro-Second Amendment piece of legislation. The NRA will continue to work with Congress to prevent President Obama from imposing his back door gun control agenda on the American people.”

Among the key measures in the House CJS Appropriations bill are:

  • a prohibition on the use of funds for “Operation Choke Point,” a program that chokes off banking services to legitimate businesses;
  • a prohibition on funds to prevent the Obama Administration from banning commonly used ammunition, such as M855;
  • a prohibition on the use of funds to prevent the Justice Department (or any government entity) from spending taxpayer dollars on “gun walking” programs such as the flawed and controversial “Operation Fast and Furious”;
  • a prohibition on the use of funds to maintain any record or gun registry on multiple rifle or shotgun sales to law-abiding individuals;
  • a prohibition of funds for collecting data regarding a person’s race or ethnicity on a Form 4473 when purchasing a firearm.

That should help, but they’re still working on 41P, among other things. But it does show we can control the purse strings. Though, keep in mind this Administration is currently in court over spending money they weren’t authorized to spend, so this is no guarantee he won’t just do it anyway.

12 thoughts on “Cutting the Administration’s Funding”

  1. Impeachment of the president is probably not on. Impeachment of lesser officials for misuse of funds, on the other hand.

  2. They left out NFA CLEO sign-off expansions, among other fun examples from a bill (S. 2578) whose primary contention is that it would prevent the DOJ from spending money to fight the recent immigration-executive orders blocked by the 5th Circuit (though they can probably get the money from their existing budget).


    + None of the funds can be used by the Drug Enforcement Administration for “the purpose of bulk data collection”

    + None of the funds can be used “to transition oversight over the Internet’s domain name system away from the Department of Commerce”

    + None of the funds can be used “to expand new law enforcement certifications under the National Firearms Act”

    + None of the funds can be used “to require race or ethnicity to be disclosed during the transfer of a firearm”

    + None of the funds can be used by the feds to prevent states from implementing their own laws on medical marijuana

    + None of the funds can be used “to enforce certain restrictions on fishing for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico”

    + None of the funds can be used to operate a “cell site simulator” unless it is authorized by a court order that specifically covers “an individual, account, address, or personal device”

    + None of the funds can be used “to prosecute or hold liable any person or corporation for a violation of Sec. 2 (a) of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act”

    + None of the funds can be used “to carryout Operation Choke Point”


    This is the way the GOP can move law: force them in a spending bill. But the GOP has done little more here than make some noise and keep the status quo.

    Where is reciprocity? Where are real NFA reforms (and I am not even talking machine guns, let’s just get the paperwork flowing)?

    Nowhere. This is not winning. This is the GOP holding ground and hoping we don’t notice they haven’t done shit for us. If they think this is enough to make us happy, then they don’t think much of us at all.

    1. These are budget riders. They are all of the form “Do not,” or “Shall not.” You can’t do reciprocity that way. You can’t do forced CLEO sign off that way.

      1. Right. But there’s also no reason why they couldn’t fund a restoration of rights.

      2. Actually, they can and they do. Rules are set by leadership, and are modified to fit their priorities. Besides, you’d be surprised what can be stuck into a appropriations rider subject to reconciliation rules.

        My larger point is that bragging about holding ground is not a good sign. We are not going to see forward movement legislatively. They want us mad in 2016, and after that we’ll be shown the little kids corner.

        We talk gun rights in the context of making it better. GOP leadership figures we have enough rights already, and really don’t need more. They think we’re kept happy if we only lose a little ground each year. And the scary thing is, we usually are.

        1. While I don’t entirely disagree with your premise here, I think you’re missing the forest for the trees.

          When it comes to the Federal legislature, major moves on guns are currently not financially viable in either direction: There are few enough seats that well-moneyed zealots like Bloomberg can pose a significant threat, while we in turn represent another. In other words, many legislators are between a rock and a hard place: If they do too much to help us, the media and the Bloombergs will crucify them, and if they roll over for the antis we’ll vote them out of office.

          That dynamic doesn’t apply to state legislatures, nor does it apply to the judiciary.

          Recently, we’ve seen a number of states passing significant legislation. Multiple states have liberalized their carry laws (everything from reducing permit requirements and increasing reciprocity, all the way to a multitude of states going to two-tier Constitutional carry {Which moved significantly, or passed, in at least six states this session}), and multiple states have liberalized the possession and use of various NFA items (both legalizing the devices themselves, and legalizing their use for hunting).

          As for the courts, it’s looking like the judiciary is moving towards establishing Shall-Issue as a nationwide standard. They have also been sympathetic to those seeking relief from prohibition, which in turn seems to be bearing fruit as we see currently with the restoration of funding for proceedings to lift individual prohibitions on firearm ownership/possession.

          As gun rights continue to expand in the majority of states, eventually we will come to a tipping point where the national legislature is no longer able to put us off any more. We aren’t quite there yet, but we’re getting there.

          1. As gun rights continue to expand in the majority of states, eventually we will come to a tipping point where the national legislature is no longer able to put us off any more. We aren’t quite there yet, but we’re getting there.

            Progressives and Democrats are at the lowest levels in the federal Congress since the 1920s, and you’d have to go back almost to the Civil War to find a time when Republicans controlled 2/3rds of state legislatures. Despite Sandy Hook, a clear majority of US voters believe laws should be simplified and gun rights protected, vice more gun-control.

            What is our tipping point? Do we really think that greater majorities in the GOP means they will be more likely to do more for us, or more likely to assume they can ignore us?

            I respect your view, but also suggest those views might be the result of buying into the GOP’s claims that they need just a little more power, before they work to protect our rights.

            As much as I appreciate moving the ball even a little, the simple truth is that the GOP is only playing in the margins. They have done nothing substantive to move the ball in the core of the right for all gun owners – not just odd cases.

            I don’t want it all right now. I have many times counseled many to be patient. But the simple truth is this Congress is playing us. If we lose – then we lose. I am OK with that. But if my supposed friends play me the fool…

    2. The paperwork IS flowing.

      Granted, it isn’t flowing at all close to the speed at which it SHOULD be flowing, but it IS flowing. There are a few things to keep in mind when talking about transfer times:

      * BATFE, including NFA branch, was under a hiring freeze from around the end of the Bush II administration until after the 2012 government shutdown. In this time period, the number of transfers exploded, leading to a HUGE backlog of forms. Since the lifting of the hiring freeze, BATFE has been able to more than double the size of the permanent force working to process transfers, and they have also cross-trained at least the same number of people to ALSO work on processing transfers. In total, this brings the total number of examiners from around 10 to a maximum of around 40 (with something like 25 permanent examiners). Since this hiring took place around 12-18 months ago, BATFE has SIGNIFICANTLY reduced the backlog — a backlog that had previously done nothing but expand was cut in half in the first six months.

      * Since this increase in the number of examiners, a number of states have repealed bans on various types of Title II firearms, Including gun mufflers, and short-barreled rifles/shotguns. Numerous states have also enacted legislation to legalize hunting with firearm mufflers.

      * Between between expanded markets and an increased acceptance Title II ownership in the gun community as a whole, the popularity of Title II firearms has continued to grow.

      * Form 3 transfers are currently running about 40 days (by dates of transferor and approval signatures, minus a few days for transit of forms to BATFE) plus a bit for transit & processing by the dealers involved. Thus, in practice it will take about two months end-to-end for your local dealer to receive an item via a Form 3 transfer. This is down from a peak of 60-90+ days. It’s still not where it needs to be, but at least it’s getting better.

      * Form 4 transfers to legal entities (trusts/corporations) are currently taking approximately 2.5-3.5 months. My last took a bit over 4.5 months: Got forms from dealer Dec 30, mailed forms in ~Jan 15, transfer approved April 3, took delivery around May 20th. In other words, BATFE was only responsible for just over half of the total time (2.5 months), with myself and the dealer accounting for the other two months. 2.5 months is still an unacceptably long transfer time, but it’s better than the 8-11 months they were taking before the recent hiring, and they’re still getting better.

      To be entirely clear, while I don’t like the whole transfer process or it’s associated delays, I see the NFA branch taking an unfairly large amount of blame for long transfer times. It’s important to understand that the number of examiners remained static for so long due to a hiring freeze that applied to the ENTIRE DOJ. As soon as that moratorium was lifted, BATFE immediately began the process of hiring new examiners, and transfer times have consistently improved since those new examiners started working. Even prior to the lifting of the moratorium on hiring, BATFE had approved effectively unlimited overtime for NFA examiners, and many of the examiners certainly took advantage of this: I’ve seen multiple transfers which were approved on weekends (At least one of my transfers was approved on a Sunday).

      That all being said, I think the real answer at this point is legislative: With the dawn of the Brady Background Check Law, there is no compelling reason to continue to differentiate between Title I and Title II firearms. In practice, I believe that the obvious first step would be to eliminate the current NFA background check process, move all checks over to NICS, and create a system to allow the immediate acceptance of tax payment for over-the-counter sale with no processing delay. This is the obvious first step, and it will make it that much easier to get rid of the rest, including Hughes.

      1. They’d have to build in the registration for title II firearms into the OTC/tax payment process, no?

        1. Given the Eform system and the NICS system, there’s really no reason why the registration and tax payment, and thus the transfer, can’t happen at the time of sale.

          If they can take the transfer application submission and tax payment electronically, and issue the approved, “stamped” form by e-mail, then there’s no reason why the entire process can’t be handled in a completely automated manner in conjunction with NICS.

          Why double-down on an outdated and inefficient 80+ year old system when 21st century technology makes it entirely feasible to modernize the entire process?

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