Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) on Wednesday blasted the National Rifle Association for announcing they would include the vote to hold U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt in their “future candidate evaluations.”
“The gun lobby is guiding the hand of the House Republicans, and it’s never been more clear than with this contempt vote,” he said in a statement. “It is preposterous for the NRA to suddenly show concern over guns falling into the wrong hands when for decades they have fought countless proposals to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and even terrorists. If House Republicans ever stepped out from behind the special interest gun lobby, we might be able to pass real reforms that protect Americans from the scourge of gun violence.”
The House will vote Thursday on whether Holder should be held in contempt of Congress over the Department of Justice’s refusal to release additional documents pertaining to the botched gun-running scandal called “Operation Fast and Furious.” The documents concern how to respond to congressional and media inquiries, and were created after the operation had ended.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) sold thousands of assault rifles and revolvers to traffickers suspected of being linked to Mexican drug cartels. The operation’s goal was to unearth and dismantle illicit firearms trafficking routes between the U.S. and Mexico by tracking the weapons, but officials poorly monitored their movement and the majority of the weapons went missing. The firearms eventually began showing up at crime scenes in Mexico and the southern United States.
“Heightening the NRA’s concerns — and requiring our involvement — is the White House’s use of this program to advance its gun control agenda,” the NRA said in a letter to the House of Representatives.
The NRA has claimed there is a “massive conspiracy” by the Obama administration to pursue gun control legislation, even though the President hasn’t pushed for any new gun control laws. The organization claims Fast and Furious is part of the conspiracy.
“The reason we support the contempt resolution is the same reason we first called for Attorney General Holder’s resignation more than a year ago: the Department’s obstruction of congressional oversight of a program that cost lives in support of an anti-gun agenda,” the NRA’s letter reads. “This is an issue of the utmost seriousness and the NRA will consider this vote in our future candidate evaluations.”
[Image via Micha Niskin, Creative Commons licensed]