NRA-Backed Provisions in 2012 Appropriations Act Signed into Law

Like every organization, the NRA has its faults.  For example, sometimes Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre gets a little too overzealous with his anti-Obama rhetoric and his doomsday prognosticating should Obama be elected to a second term. 

But putting aside small and inconsequential grievances, the NRA gets the job done when it matters most.

The most recent example of the NRA ‘fighting the good fight’ is manifested in H.R. 2055, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012

The Act was signed into law by President Obama back on Dec 23 and it contains several provisions that strengthen the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners and prevents the federal government from spending tax dollars on initiatives that would promote an anti-Second Amendment agenda. 

To be precise there are three NRA-backed provisions in the 2012 Appropriations Act, they are found in Sec. 218, of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (Labor-H) division of the bill, Sec. 503 of the Labor-H division, and Sec. 8017 of the Department of Defense (DOD) division. 

SECTION 218

Sec. 218 simply reads, “None of the funds made available in this title may be used, in whole or in part, to advocate or promote gun control.”

The NRA, in a press release, stated that Sec. 218 “prevents the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from using taxpayer dollars to promulgate junk science designed to paint legal gun ownership as a public health hazard.”

The NRA pointed to three studies funded by the NIH (since 2002) that were allegedly designed to “promulgate junk science.”  The press release stated:

•    $2,639,453 was spent by the NIH to investigate whether adolescents 10-19 years old who were treated at the hospital for a gunshot wound were more likely to have consumed alcohol and/or carried a firearm during the time period surrounding their injury than victims of a non-gun assault.  Basically, the researchers wanted to know why teenagers who possess firearms illegally and engage in underage drinking and consort with those who do the same-were likely to be involved in violent situations.
•    $1,980,327 was allocated by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a division of NIH, to determine the relationship between gun violence and the presence of bars and liquor stores.  The researchers posited that communities could lower homicide and suicide rates by improving zoning regulations for “alcohol outlets.”
•    $35,933 in federal funding was used to “understand the determinants of firearm ownership and storage practices” and “measure attitudes and beliefs about firearms” among parents.  The study was funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development through NIH, and aimed to solidify the notion that a “home free of hazards” was essential to children’s safety and well-being.

While it can be argued that the NRA may have mischaracterized the intent of the studies listed above (if one assumes they were objective scientific inquires void of political bias), Guns.com found similar studies listed in the NIH database that called for gun regulation. 

One such study, entitled “Homicide and geographic access to gun dealers in the United States,” concluded that “Modification of Federal Firearm Licensees through federal, state, and local regulation may be a feasible intervention to reduce gun homicide in major cities.”

The point is taxpayer dollars should not be wasted on studies that call for further infringements on one’s Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.  “Shall not be infringed” has a rather direct and explicit meaning and, plainly put, the government should not fund studies that seek to subvert its own founding doctrine. 

SECTION 503

The language of the Sec. 503 reads, “(c) The prohibitions in subsections (a) and (b) shall include any activity to advocate or promote any proposed, pending or future Federal, State or local tax increase, or any proposed, pending, or future requirement or restriction on any legal consumer product, including its sale or marketing, including but not limited to the advocacy or promotion of gun control.”

According to the NRA, this section “prevents federal funds from being used for lobbying efforts designed to support or defeat the passage of legislation being considered by Congress, or any state or local legislative body.  Too often, community action groups are utilizing federal money to lobby for increased regulation of firearms including trigger locks, bans on semi-automatic rifles, regulated magazine capacity, etc.”

Moreover, it’s good to know that government funds will not be used to promote tax increases on firearms and gun-related accessories. 

SECTION 8017

Sec. 8017 reads, “None of the funds available to the Department of Defense may be used to demilitarize or dispose of M-1 Carbines, M-1 Garand rifles, M-14 rifles, .22 caliber rifles, .30 caliber rifles, or M-1911 pistols, or to demilitarize or destroy small arms ammunition or ammunition components that are not otherwise prohibited from commercial sale under Federal law, unless the small arms ammunition or ammunition components are certified by the Secretary of the Army or designee as unserviceable or unsafe for further use.”

This is a long-standing provision (been around since 1979) that ensures gun owners will have access to military surplus ammo and firearms that are no longer being utilized by the military.  In 2009, Congress amended the language of this particular provision, at the behest of gun owners and the NRA, to prevent the destruction of spent brass casings (ammo components).