McCain Camp Tries To Downplay Top Aide Lobbying In Favor Of Gun Rights For Suspected Terrorists

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"McCain Camp Tries To Downplay Top Aide Lobbying In Favor Of Gun Rights For Suspected Terrorists"

mccain74398.jpgIn 2007, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced legislation giving the Justice Department the discretion to prohibit gun sales to terror suspects. The legislation was supported by gun-control groups as well as the Bush administration.

Siding with the gun industry in opposing closing this “terror gap” was Randy Scheunemann, now Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) top foreign policy adviser. Newsweek reports that Scheunemann lobbied against the bill on behalf of the National Shooting Sports Foundation:

One group opposed to closing the loophole is the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun manufacturers’ trade association. Until this spring, one of its congressional lobbyists was Randy Scheunemann … Registration documents filed by Scheunemann’s company, Orion Strategies, list the terror-gap bill as one of its specific lobbying objectives, and the registrations listed Scheunemann as a lobbyist until he took a leave.

In response, the McCain campaign “declined to say if Scheunemann had ever lobbied McCain on gun-control bills.” McCain spokesperson Jill Hazelbaker said that Scheunemann is a “foreign-policy adviser.” In March, however, Scheunemann told National Journal that “he has weighed in with advice on Second Amendment and firearms issues” in advising McCain:

Officially the top foreign policy and national security adviser to McCain’s campaign, Scheunemann told National Journal in March he has weighed in with advice on Second Amendment and firearms issues. He said he had stopped lobbying for all his clients early this year, and his lobbying registration forms show that the NRA work ended at the end of 2007.

After McCain spoke to the NRA national convention in May, “Scheunemann spent most of his time at the event backstage — where McCain had a brief meeting with NRA leaders.”

Hinting at yet another conflict of interest, the McCain campaign “refused to answer questions about whether the senator supports or opposes the White House plan to close the loophole” giving expanded gun rights to terrorists, reports Newsweek.

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