John McCaslin

Fears of nationalizing major banking institutions aside, "a potential legislative gun rights battle is looming in Washington," warns John Snyder, spokesman for the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and treasurer of the Second Amendment Foundation.

"When President Obama submits his budget blueprint in the near future, the proposal may include language designed specifically to repeal the Tiahrt Amendment," Mr. Snyder says. "This repeal is an action long sought by gun-grabbing politicians, the anti-gun Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and other extremist groups."

Named for Rep. Todd Tiahrt, Kansas Republican, the amendment prohibits third-party use of federal gun-trace data when lawsuits are filed against the firearms industry.

That said, it's worth recalling that Americans are buying more guns these days - lots more. The FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which serves as a strong indicator of actual gun sales, shows that background checks on firearms sales jumped 29 percent last month compared with January 2008.

This followed a 24 percent rise in December and 42 percent jump in November, when a record 1,529,635 background checks were performed.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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