Monday, May 6, 2013

At NRA Conference, Major Gun Groups Debunk NRA Spin On Background Checks

HOUSTON, TX — Two prominent gun rights groups are distributing literature taking apart the National Rifle Association (NRA)’s misinformation on the Manchin-Toomey background check bill — at the NRA’s own conference.

The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) bills itself as the second largest gun advocacy organization in the country. Its leader, Alan Gottlieb, also heads up the Second Amendment Foundation, a pro-gun legal action group that brought the case (McDonald v. Chicago) that required all states to treat handgun ownership as a constitutional right. The two organizations appear, judging from joint flyers distributed at the NRA conference, to coordinate.

CCRKBA kicked up a controversy in April, when it broke with the NRA to support the Manchin-Toomey expanded background checks bills. (The group later withdrew its support for Manchin-Toomey right before the vote because a pro-gun amendment it supported was not being considered.) But despite the bill’s (perhaps temporary) defeat in the Senate, CCRKBA doesn’t appear to be backing down — The Gun Mag, a Second Amendment Foundation publication, published an “NRA Meeting Special Issue” whose lead article takes apart the NRA’s line on Manchin-Toomey.

The article, written by former NRA Board member Dave Workman, takes an oblique shot at the NRA, which built its argument against Manchin-Toomey on the specter of gun registration and confiscation:

Gun rights activists across the nation believe the Schumer measure would establish a de facto gun registry due to a record keeping requirement. There is no record keeping provision in the Manchin-Toomey bill, and using background check information to create a registry would be punishable by up to 15 years in prison.[...]

The Manchin-Toomey alternative would provide for background checks on all commercial gun sales, including those done at gun shows and that originate on the Internet. An important exemption applies to transfers of firearms between family members, and private sales between friends and neighbors would also be exempt.

Though the Manchin-Toomey bill did not receive enough support to break a filibuster against it, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used a procedural maneuver to ensure the bill could be reconsidered at a future date.

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