The Brady Campaign, CNN, and the cult of personality known as Giffords are all in a tizzy that an BATFE official actually reached out to a lobbyist for comments. You may remember the white paper written by BATFE Associate Deputy Director Ron Turk that suggested items for discussion with regard to firearms regulations. The white paper was released after the inauguration of President Trump. It is to be noted that Ron Turk has always maintained that the items discussed in the paper were not official policy but rather items for discussion that he proposed.
According to CNN, after writing his initial draft of the white paper, Turk sent it to firearms lobbyist Mark Barnes for comments.
“If I am missing the mark on a major issue or disregarding a major discussion point any feedback you have would be appreciated,” Turk wrote to the lobbyist, Mark Barnes, on January 9, 2017. “My hope is that the agency can demonstrate flexibility where appropriate and identify areas for further discussion, recognizing that solving everyone’s concerns on each side would be difficult.”
Some of the suggestions from Barnes were included in the final draft of the white paper. Things like allowing dealers to use the NICS system to run background check on their own employees and a re-examination of a 20-year old sporting use study in light of the sporting uses of AKs and ARs. However, things that Barnes also suggested like loosening restrictions on the imports of SKS carbines and Makarov pistols from Russia were not included.
I think what has the gun control lobby and their enablers in the media so upset is that they weren’t approached for suggestions.
From Avery Gardiner of the Brady Campaign:
“I was surprised to see that the draft document had been emailed out to a gun industry lawyer and the final product took his suggestions as edits — without any disclosure of that until we went to court to get these documents,” said Avery W. Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Center. …
“There was a secret white paper that was partially written by the gun lobby. That’s exactly the kind of thing the Freedom of Information Act is supposed to address — transparency of government,” Gardiner said.
And from David Chipman, the former BATFE Special Agent who now works for Giffords, who is dismayed by the revelation:
“An independent ATF is critical to this nation’s security. The white paper suggests that the gun industry’s quest for power and influence has trumped public safety,” Chipman said.
An interesting side note on Chipman, he is a 1984 graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy – the ultra-expensive, ultra-upper class, prep school. I’m having a little bit of cognitive dissonance over a preppy actually getting his hands dirty working for a lackluster agency like BATFE. Isn’t that a little beneath a graduate of Phillips Exeter?
Back to the story in question, think back to the Obama Administration and all the photo ops and meeting held with the gun control industry. They were quite numerous. I think the problem here is that they are miffed to be on the outside looking in as opposed to the good old days when they had a seat at the table.
The CNN story does have link to all the drafts of the white papers if you are interested. They have also included a video on the page that seems like an outright editorial call for universal background checks. As Glenn Reynolds has often said they are Democratic operatives with a byline. I’d modify it to include gun control advocates with a byline.