In the lead up to the Thanksgiving weekend, President Obama signed a bill into law which includes a number of provisions backed by gun rights advocates.
On Wednesday, the National Defense Authorization Act became law. Among the provisions in the act are several gun-related measures the National Rifle Association championed.
The most significant of those provisions requires the secretary of defense establish a process to allow service members to carry firearms at military bases, reserve centers, and recruiting centers. The policy change comes after four Marines and a police officer were killed in terrorist attacks on recruiting centers. The NRA applauded the change.
"The brave men and women in our Armed Forces should not be left defenseless against terrorists on American soil," Chris Cox, director of the NRA's lobbying arm, said in a statement. "Local commanders now have the authority to allow service men and women to be armed while on base. Members of the military should have the same ability to defend themselves as every other law-abiding citizen."
The act also prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency from banning lead-based ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The NRA praised the prohibition and said it would ensure "our military, hunters and sportsmen will have access to traditional ammunition at a reasonable cost."
It also expands the U.S. Army's ability to sell its surplus firearms. The Army had been limited in which firearms they were allowed to sell to the public, which created a backlog of hundreds of thousands of M1911 pistols that were no longer in use but could not be destroyed under federal law. The resulting stockpile costs the Army an estimated $200,000 per year to maintain in storage. Under the law, the M1911 pistols may soon be auctioned off by the Civilian Marksmanship Program which uses the revenues from auctions of surplus military arms to fund its training initiatives.
The NRA said the changes were a result of recent elections. "The enactment of these commonsense, NRA-backed provisions into law is a result of the American people electing a pro-Second Amendment majority to the United States Congress," Cox said.