Feb. 6, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Under Assault, NRA Fights Back

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced a bill last week banning people convicted of felonies and domestic violence in foreign countries from possessing firearms in the United States. Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) and Feinstein offered a separate measure that would close a loophole that currently allows some private citizens to hunt wildlife from aircraft.

But Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said he isn’t worried about the recent uptick in gun-related legislation creating a monsoon of pro-gun victories.

“I think they are overreaching,” Helmke said, noting the unsuccessful vote on the Thune amendment and the decision to score the Senate vote on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor next week, even though Sotomayor is expected to be confirmed.

“I think it’s pretty significant when you look on the Hill at the fact that they are coming up short,” he added.

Helmke said the recent votes show that if you vote against the NRA, “the sky isn’t going to fall around” Members, so he believes there is a chance to move proactive legislation, something gun control advocates haven’t been able to do for years.

“They are always trying to insert themselves in something. That’s what keeps the money coming in as long as they are scaring their members,” Helmke said.

The NRA raised more than $5 million during the first half of 2009, bringing its political action committee total up to $6.1 million.

So far this year, the NRA has donated 77 percent of its contributions to Republicans, giving them $44,150. The group contributed $13,150 to Democrats.

Despite Helmke’s prediction, the NRA has already had success this Congress.

In May, the Senate passed a bill that would rein in credit card interest fees along with a Republican-sponsored amendment permitting concealed weapons in national parks.

Don’t expect the NRA to slow down anytime soon.

The NRA has also filed several lawsuits this year after the Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that individuals have the right to privately bear arms. The NRA filed suit against the city of Chicago and several suburban communities around Chicago aimed at striking down their handgun bans.

The cases are expected to make their way up to the Supreme Court.

In addition to continuing to push for national reciprocity, the gun lobby also expects a ban on semiautomatic weapons to resurface.

There are also several bills moving that would limit firearms, including a bill introduced by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) that would prohibit anyone on the no-fly list from purchasing guns.

“We never take our eye off the ball from a defensive standpoint,” Cox said.

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