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Giffords Law Center sues Justice Department over possible ATF communications with gun lobby

It is getting to be a common story in 2018: The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence is now suing the Justice Department after previous Freedom of Information Act requests seeking information about the Trump administration’s interactions with lobbyists were ignored.

This time around, activists are trying to pry loose documents and records of contacts with the National Rifle Association and other gun groups before an administration decision to loosen 3-D printed gun restrictions. The most consequential records being requested are ones between the NRA or other outside lobbyists and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives official Chad Readler, who’s now been nominated by Trump for a federal judgeship. The Giffords Law Center is objecting to that nomination.

“Following a legal strategy overseen by Chad Readler, the Trump administration abruptly — and without explanation — changed course and withdrew its objections to downloadable guns,” the letter stated. “Mr. Readler’s nomination for a life-tenured federal judgeship should be rejected on the basis of his irresponsible and dangerous efforts on behalf of the Trump administration to make undetectable, untraceable firearms available to anyone in the world with an internet connection and a 3-D printer.”

There’s little chance that a Chuck Grassley-led Senate Judiciary will stall the Readler nomination even for a moment, but it will be (ahem) interesting to see what records between the administration and gun groups are eventually dislodged from the government maw. What happens after that, however, may depend as much on which party controls Congress as on the lawsuits working their way through federal courts.

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