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‘MADNESS’ OF GUN BILL UNDERMINES ATF To the editor: Lawrence Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation needs a lesson in statutory construction ( “Letters,” July 18, 2005, Page 61). The gun industry immunity bill (S. 397) immunizes gun sellers from “administrative proceeding[s],” as well as from “civil action[s] or proceeding[s].” Since federal law already defines a license revocation as an administrative agency “proceeding,” 5 U.S.C. §551(12), the effect is to limit the authority of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to revoke the licenses of dealers who sell to illegal buyers. None of the bill’s exceptions to immunity would preserve ATF dealer license revocations, because the exceptions apply only to “actions,” not to “proceedings.” Nothing in the bill even remotely suggests that “administrative proceedings” include only local business permit or zoning decisions, as Mr. Keane suggests. But while we’re on the subject, why should Congress be in the business of pre-empting local zoning decisions about where gun shops should be located? Rex Davis and Stephen Higgins, who between them headed ATF under six presidents, have told Congress that the effect of S. 397 on ATF’s enforcement power is so severe that the bill “is nothing short of madness.” Would it be asking too much of Congress to listen to these law enforcement leaders, instead of to the representative of the industry that will receive unprecedented special legal protection if this bill becomes law? Dennis A. Henigan Director, Legal Action Project Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence Washington, D.C.

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