Let's get to top items on Bush's to-do list<BR>
Congratulations, Mr. President-elect.
George W. Bush now appears to be the next president of the United States. He faces many tough problems and decisions in the coming four years, but if he lives up to the reputation he cultivated in Texas as a uniter and leader, our country will be in good hands.
In the coming weeks, The Daily Courier will be making a few suggestions for his agenda.
This is the first. Some may see this as a plea from an interest group (gun owners), but it is a whole lot more than that as we will point out.
Whatever other qualities Bush seeks in a secretary of the treasury, he should gain a solid commitment from that individual to clean out the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms from the top down to the highest civil service position. The new secretary should replace those individuals with people dedicated to establishing an entirely different corporate culture in the organization – one that believes in punishing people who use guns illegally, not legitimate businesspeople. For that past eight years, the ATF has waged war on the people who make and sell firearms for lawful purposes. The new secretary must end that immediately and shift the enforcement efforts of the ATF to criminals, not law-abiding citizens.
The primary mission of the ATF should be to arrest and prosecute the truly dangerous people who fail instant background checks. The Clinton Administration has boasted that it prevented more than 200,000 unqualified firearms buyers from getting guns when it merely turned them away at one store.
The ATF should be tracking down those turn-aways and prosecuting the worst of them. The agency should turn the next-worst group over to local law enforcement. It should not be devoting huge amounts of time, money and agents to trying to entrap dealers or catch them on ridiculous technical violations to drive them out of business. The Clinton Administration has cut the number of federal firearms license holders in the nation in half.
Likewise, whatever qualities Bush is looking for in a secretary of Housing and Urban Development, he shouldn't choose anyone who won't commit to ending all of that department's legal action against gunmakers. The idea that gunmakers have caused crime in federal housing projects is as ridiculous as blaming Ford and General Motors for speeding and drunk driving. Crime in federal housing projects reflects more on the government's poor planning, lax administration and enforcement than anything else.
Mr. President-elect, we know your plate is full, but these issues go absolutely to the core of what you said in the campaign about trusting the people and holding criminals accountable. Godspeed.