Gun legislation and a conflict of interest in the Senate
The Senate moved legislation designed to shield firearms manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits over gun crimes to the Senate floor late yesterday, moving legislation to authorize $491 billion in spending for our nation’s defense to the back burner.
The bill’s supporters claimed consideration of the measure was long over due. Opponents tried to point out the “distorted priorities,” to use Sen. Feinstein’s words, of the Senate in moving this legislation ahead of defense spending.
While Alan and I disagree on the specifics of an individual’s right to own and possess a gun, I think we’re in agreement that the manufactures and dealers of firearms should not be held liable for the misuse of a weapon as long as it is manufactured, marketed, and sold legally.
There is a second issue with this legislation that I’m more concerned about. The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho). Sen. Craig also sits on the board of the directors of the National Riffle Association. This bill is the NRA’s #1 priority.
Sen. Craig was sent to Congress to represent the people of the State of Idaho. And, while the interests of the state may be in line with the position of the NRA on this issue, the Senator’s membership on the NRA board of directors creates, at the least, the appearance of a conflict of interest. It is not out of line for opponents of the legislation to ask: Does Sen. Craig represent the NRA? Or the people of Idaho?
Members of Congress should recluse themselves from sponsoring or voting on legislation in which they have a personal interest.