01.20.16

Senator Lankford Questions Attorney General on President Obama’s Fast and Furious Program and Gun Control Proposals

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today questioned Attorney General Loretta Lynch about the President’s Fast and Furious program and recent proposed executive actions on gun control. On January 5, 2016, President Obama issued a number of proposed executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence by instituting new background check requirements, hiring more government workers to oversee gun policy, and increasing funding for mental health research and gun technology.

Specifically, the purpose of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science hearing was to review the Department of Justice’s role in implementing President Obama’s gun control proposals. Lankford pressed Attorney General Lynch on when the Department of Justice would comply with a court ruling requiring them to turn over further Fast and Furious documents originally subpoenaed in 2011. Ms. Lynch said the Department is reviewing the order to determine whether or not they will comply or take additional legal action. Before being elected to the Senate, Lankford served on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and conducted oversight of the Fast and Furious gun smuggling operation.

Lankford also challenged Ms. Lynch on an issue the Senator has worked on as Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management – the proper use of regulations vs. the improper use of regulatory guidance documents. The President recently directed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to issue guidance to clarify what it means to be “engaged in the business of dealing in firearms.” Lastly, Senator Lankford asked about why states are submitting so few records into the National Instant Criminal Background Check system (NICS) and whether the low submissions are due to the federal system being too complicated. The NICS database records a person’s eligibility to possess firearms and explosives.

After the hearing, Lankford said, “Attorney General Lynch’s answers to my questions were unsatisfactory. The Fast and Furious program was a disaster, and it is important that the American people know the full story of what happened. The Department of Justice must clarify their use of regulatory guidance to ensure they’re not overreaching, as other federal agencies have done. The Obama administration must also improve their existing systems to conduct background checks with states, before pursuing changes. The Department of Justice does not gather efficient state records now; why should the American people believe new executive powers will make the situation better? I will continue to press these issues and conduct thorough oversight of the Department of Justice to ensure they are accountable to the American people.”

CLICK HERE to watch Senator Lankford’s question and answer segment of the hearing. 

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