Sen. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama is the CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month for August.
In nominating Sen. Shelby for the Award, John M. Snyder, CCRKBA Public Affairs Director, said that, “Sen. Shelby throughout his career has been a consistent defender of the individual Second Amendment civil right of law-abiding American citizens to keep and bear arms. His action in support of the right recently during an important Senate Appropriations Committee consideration of U.S. Justice Department funding for fiscal year 2008 deserves special commendation. He certainly deserves this recognition.”
Here’s what happened.
For some time now, gun grabbers have been working to delete the Tiahrt Amendment from Justice Department appropriations. The Tiahrt Amendment stipulates that firearms trace data maintained by BATFE for purposes of criminal investigation and prosecution may not be used for other purposes. The gun grabbers, led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have been trying to get the Tiahrt Amendment taken out of the appropriations so that anti-gun mayors may have access to the data for use in harassing and costly third party civil lawsuits against firearms manufacturers, distributors and dealers. They want to put the American firearms industry out of business so that citizens will not have access to legal sources of firearms. They want to make it practically impossible for citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
One of Bloomberg’s anti-gun allies, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland, who is Chairwoman of the Appropriations Subcommittee which deals with Justice Department funding, stripped the Tiahrt Amendment out of the appropriations before she sent the measure to the full Appropriations Committee.
When the full Appropriations Committee met in late June, Sen. Shelby offered an amendment to reinsert the Tiahrt Amendment. He even included a provision to strengthen the Tiahrt Amendment. That provision would require local law enforcement personnel, when requesting access to the firearms trace data from BATFE, to state the reason for wanting the information. That would help prevent politically-appointed chiefs of police, acting under the direction of anti-gun mayors, from getting access to the data willy-nilly, and then turning it over to mayors for use in civil lawsuits against the gun industry.
Anti-gun Sens. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Dianne Feinstein of California offered an amendment to Shelby’s proposal to weaken or gut it.
When the rubber hit the road, when it came time for the Appropriations Committee to vote, the Lautenberg-Feinstein move failed and Shelby’s amendment was approved by a 19-10 bipartisan vote. It went to the full Senate for consideration there.
Later, the Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives defeated attempts to reject the Tiahrt Amendment, including it in the Justice Department Appropriations measure it sent to the full House
“I believe,” stated Sen. Shelby, “that gun control legislation is violative of both the letter and spirit of the United States Constitution.
“To combat crime in our communities, we need stronger penalties. I will vote against all attempts to infringe upon the rights of law-abiding citizens. It is a foremost right of all American citizens to be free from the fear of violent crime in our homes, our streets and our communities. We cannot demonstrate any tolerance for crime in our society. Individuals who commit crimes with firearms should be dealt with quickly and effectively. We must ensure that criminals are held accountable for their actions, that they receive swift and certain punishment commensurate with their crimes, and the protection of innocent citizens takes priority over other objectives.”
Alabama’s senior United States Senator, Shelby was first elected to the Senate in 1986, and reelected to successive terms since that time. Prior to his election to the Senate, he served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and prior to that eight years in the Alabama legislature. He also served as a City Prosecutor in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, U.S. Magistrate for the Northern District of Alabama, and Special Assistant to the Attorney General in Alabama.
Born May 6, 1934 in Birmingham, Alabama, Sen. Shelby is a graduate of the University of Alabama’s undergraduate and law programs. He and his wife, Annette Nevin Shelby, have two sons: Richard, Jr. and Claude Nevin. Claude and his wife Lisa have one daughter, Anna Elizabeth Shelby, and one son, William Nevin Shelby.
In addition to his membership on the Senate Appropriations Committee during the current, 110th Congress, Sen. Shelby is Ranking Member of its Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee. He also is Ranking Member of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.