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Letter to the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Below is a letter by Chris W. Cox, Executive Director, NRA Institute for Legislative Action to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in response to an op-ed which appeared July 31, 2003. The editorial vilified Congressman Todd Tiahrt for his amendment to the 2004 funding bill for the Commerce, Justice and State departments prohibiting funds for certain activities of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Your July 31, 2003 editorial vilifying Congressman Todd Tiahrt’s actions during congressional funding deliberations begs a response. Very simply, the Tiahrt Amendment rightfully places the full burden of justice on lawbreakers, particularly dishonest gun retailers. The beneficiaries of this Amendment are law-abiding Americans, who will not be overwhelmed by redundant bureaucracies. Currently, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) has full authority to conduct annual inspections of gun retailers and can inspect a dealer’s records in the course of any criminal investigation. If one discrepancy is detected, BATFE can, literally, “camp-out” on the retailer’s premises to peruse records ad infinitum. The Tiahrt Amendment does not undermine this capability; thus, BATFE will still have the same expansive investigative power. Therefore, your assertion that Congress is “taking the side of criminals” and “sacrificing citizen safety” is, very plainly, irresponsible and untrue. The National Rifle Association (NRA) maintains a strong working relationship with all law enforcement. Moreover, our membership rolls have a high representation of active and retired military personnel and law enforcement officers. These frontline warriors know that to decrease gun crimes, our laws must frustrate criminals, not law-abiding citizens. While within your rights, it is unfortunate that you chose to highlight one, albeit inaccurate, viewpoint. For the sake of fairness, please consider affording your readers a balanced perspective by considering differing viewpoints. Chris W. Cox Executive Director, Institute for Legislative Action National Rifle Association

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.