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NRA Finds Paul Amendment Problematic

The National Rifle Association informed Senators on Thursday that it opposes Sen. Rand Paul’s gun-related amendment to the USA PATRIOT Act reauthorization.

The gun-rights organization described the Kentucky Republican’s proposal as well-intentioned but problematic. The amendment would prevent federal investigators from using a provision of the PATRIOT Act to review gun buyers’ background records. The underlying measure would reauthorize expiring provisions of the anti-terrorism law, which was enacted in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

NRA lobbyist Chris Cox explained the organization’s position in an email to Senate offices. Paul’s amendment, which faces strong bipartisan opposition, is expected to be tabled, meaning the proposal will technically not receive a vote. The NRA is not taking a position on the motion to table.

The text of the NRA’s email is below.

Dear Senator,

Thank you for asking about the National Rifle Association’s position on a motion to table amendment # 363 to the PATRIOT Act.

The NRA takes a back seat to no one when it comes to protecting gun owners’ rights against government abuse. Over the past three decades, we’ve fought successfully to block unnecessary and intrusive compilation of firearms-related records by several federal agencies, and will continue to protect the privacy of our members and all American gun owners.

While well-intentioned, the language of this amendment as currently drafted raises potential problems for gun owners, in that it encourages the government to use provisions in current law that allow access to firearms records without reasonable cause, warrant, or judicial oversight of any kind.

Based on these concerns and the fact that the NRA does not ordinarily take positions on procedural votes, we have no position on a motion to table amendment # 363.