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Shotguns, AK-47's and Your National Parks

 by The Nation

National Parks are not like other public lands, and they are not
like state lands. They are set aside because they are unlike anywhere
else on Earth.

-- Congressman Raúl Grijalva

Senator Tom Coburn has struck again, aided and abetted by feckless Majority Leader Harry Reid.

This time around, Coburn hijacked the credit card reform bill,
attaching yet another insane gun amendment that has nothing whatsoever
to do with the issue at hand. The result? A vote for the "Credit Card
Bill of Rights" is now also a vote for allowing loaded shotguns, rifles
-- even AK-47s -- into our national parks. Score another win for the
NRA, poaching, environmental degradation, and national insecurity --
and a huge loss for public safety.

Congressman Raúl Grijalva, who chairs the National Parks, Forests,
and Public Lands Subcommittee as well as the Progressive Caucus, held a
press conference on Capitol Hill yesterday to urge action against the
amendment. He was joined by Representatives Carolyn McCarthy and
Carolyn Maloney, as well as advocates from the Coalition to Stop Gun
Violence, the Humane Society, National Parks Conservation Association,
and two retired park rangers-- one of whom is a former director of law
enforcement at the parks.

Grijalva and his colleagues urged Americans to contact their representatives
and tell them to vote against this amendment, which could be taken up
on the House floor as early as today. (Grijalva said it was an "uphill"
battle to find the votes to shoot the amendment down.) They also urged House leadership to take the bill to conference and strip the amendment as not germane, which clearly it isn't.

Yesterday a Reid spokesman told CongressDaily that there is
little Reid can do to prevent amendments like Coburn's -- frankly,
that's a load of crap. He could toughen up (as could Dems fearful of
the NRA). There is a well known process on the Hill called "filling the
tree", whereby the Majority Leader cuts off amendments by offering his
own -- even if they are simply place holders. In response, the GOP
would certainly complain bitterly or maybe try to slow down the
process. Let them. I'm sure interfering with the credit card reform at
this moment of financial hardship would serve only to cement their
minority status.

Republicans don't mess around when it comes to taking advantage of
parliamentary tactics. It's time for the Democrats to respond in kind.
Perhaps Harry Reid simply isn't up to the job at hand.

© 2017 The Nation

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