Congressman Jim Ross Lightfoot of Iowa, a CCRKBA Congressional Advisor, is the recipient of the CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month Award for June.

In nominating Rep. Lightfoot for the Award, John Michael Snyder, CCRKBA Public Affairs Director, said that the Iowan “has been a consistent congressional supporter of the individual right of law-abiding American citizens to keep and bear arms. Recently, he voted to repeal the Clinton ban on semiautomatic firearms and multiple capacity ammunition feeding devices.

“In 1994, he voted against the Brady Bill. He also voted against the Clinton so-called ‘crime bill’ which included the ban on semiautomatics.

“Last year, as Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Treasury, Postal Service and General Government, Rep. Lightfoot requested the General Accounting Office to look into three aspects of BATF operations: its policies regarding use of force, its treatment of firearms dealers, and whether BATF databases fall within guidelines set by Congress.

“In late April, Rep. Lightfoot held public hearings on BATF operations, after releasing, in his words, ‘the first of two GAO reports – regarding ATF’s use of force policies and ATF’s treatment of firearms dealers. The third report, on the use of databases, has been delayed.’

“It’s very important that Members of Congress use their federal bureaucracy oversight function in this way. That’s how to keep government bureaucrats’ feet to the fire. Rep. Lightfoot has been doing a good, solid job in Congress and certainly deserves this Award.”

According to the GAO report on federal firearms licensees which Congressman Lightfoot released, “since reaching a high point in April, 1993, the number of licensed firearms dealers sharply declined by about 35 percent, from about 260,700 to about 168,400 dealers, as of September 30, 1995. This decline occurred nationwide, ranging from a 23 percent decline in Montana to a 45 percent decline in Hawaii. A decline occurred both in applications for new licenses and renewals of existing licenses. During this period, the number of applications abandoned and withdrawn by former and prospective dealers was much higher than the number of licensed denied and revoked by ATF.

“Our analysis of ATF data showed that several factors collectively contributed to this decline. Principal among these factors were that:

“Since January, 1993, ATF has implemented efforts to increase enforcement of existing laws by closely scrutinizing firearms dealer applicants and licensees through increased inspections.

“In response to an August, 1993 presidential memorandum, ATF, in late 1993, revised the application requirements to obtain more information about applicants.

“Federal legislation passed in November, 1993 increased licensing fees, and legislation passed in September, l994 added more licensing requirements, including requiring applicants for firearms dealer licenses to certify compliance with state and local laws as a condition for federal licensing.

“In addition, state and local agencies’ enforcement of their laws may have resulted in reductions in the number of firearms dealers.”