Eliot Engel

 

Gun control supporters keep telling us that they don’t want to take our guns, even as they attempt to ban them by name, features, magazine size, caliber, and even ammunition type or material.

That face was made abundantly clear yet again when 90 anti-gun Democrats called upon President Obama to summarily ban the importation of a wide range of common rifles.

About 90 House Democrats led by Rep. Eliot Engel of the Bronx recently wrote President Obama asking him to bar the importation of assault-style rifles.

The letter was sent Jan. 11, about a week after Obama’s most recent executive actions on guns. Those actions included guidance on which firearms sales are subject to a criminal background check because the seller is required to have a Federal Firearms License.

Obama also asked the Social Security Administration to issue a regulation allowing theNational Instant Criminal Background Check System to obtain the names of people receiving disability benefits. The aim is to prevent people with mental health issues from owning guns. The president also requested that federal agencies research smart-gun technology.

The letter from congressional Democrats expresses “strong support’’ for Obama’s actions but asks that the administration return to “the strong enforcement of the ban on imports of military-style assault weapons.’’

The White House did not respond to a request for comment on the letter. The administration also did not respond to a similar letter signed by a dozen Senate Democrats and 82 House Democrats in April 2014.

That letter was signed by New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, along with 15 of New York’s House lawmakers, including Reps. Louise Slaughter of Fairport, Nita Lowey of Harrison and Engel.

Engel initiated both letters. The Jan. 11 letter also included 15 New York lawmakers.

Both letters make the same argument — that the president has broad authority under the1968 Gun Control Act to impose a stricter ban on the importation of certain guns.

“The Gun Control Act prohibits the importation into the United States of any firearm that is not ‘generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes,’’’ the Jan. 11 letter states. “The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has already said that this ban includes ‘semiautomatic assault rifles’ with ‘military configuration features.’’’

Fact: formal and informal targeting shooting are sporting purposes, and the “semiautomatic assault rifles” (a made-up and dishonest term) clearly fall within that definition. Obama lacks the legal authority to ban these firearms.

It would be nice if these anti-gun politicians would push the Obama Administration to enforce existing gun laws, but they seem far more intent on infringing upon your rights than they do putting their violence-prone constituents in jail.