Defeat for a Thin Blue Line

Over police protests, the House relaxes federal gun controls

The police were on hand in full force. More than 100 blue-uniformed officers, representing major law-enforcement associations, formed an accusatory gauntlet outside the House of Representatives as Congressmen filed in to consider a bill to loosen federal gun controls. Later, after checking their own side arms, the police filled two sections of the spectators' gallery to watch the debate. Joining them was Sarah Brady, wife of White House Press Secretary James Brady, who was shot and partly paralyzed during John Hinckley's 1981 attack on President Reagan.

Less visible but more formidable was the National Rifle Association, the powerful 3 million-member lobby...

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