USA: "Gun-control backers split over strategy to extend weapons ban"


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cuchulainn
May 7, 2003, 06:34 PM
from A.P. (via San Jose Mercury Press)

http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/5808438.htmWed, May. 07, 2003

Gun-control backers split over strategy to extend weapons ban
MARK SHERMAN
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - People who want to keep assault weapons off the streets are divided over how best to extend the ban on those guns, which is set to expire two months before the 2004 elections.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., on Thursday intends to introduce an extension of the assault weapons ban that she helped enact in 1994. The Bush administration has announced its support for continuing the prohibition on military-style assault weapons.

The issue promises to become mired in election-year politics, just as the original ban - passed by a Democratic Congress and signed by President Clinton - helped fuel the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994.

Many gun-control advocates normally allied with Feinstein and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., are backing a measure that Democrats in the House also plan to introduce Thursday.

The bill by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., is modeled on California law, which supporters of gun control point to as much more effective than the federal law in combating the effort by gun makers to evade the ban.

The difference is in the definition of an assault weapon. The current law and Feinstein's bill cast a narrower net than does the proposal by House Democrats.

Intratec, the maker of the banned TEC-9, now makes a model AB-10 to comply with federal law but can't sell the gun in California. Other gun makers have made similar changes to previously banned models.

"There are probably more assault weapons nationally on the market than there were in 1994," Kristen Rand, legislative director of the pro-gun control Violence Policy Center, said. "But they can't be sold in California because they strengthened their law."

Rand and others conceded that the federal law is not effective because it is easily evaded.

In a letter to Feinstein, the Consumer Federation of America and four dozen other civic and consumer groups said they can't support Feinstein's legislation, which they say "does not address the limitations in existing law."

Feinstein, trying to navigate a Republican-controlled Congress that is not favorably disposed to gun control measures, is proposing a bill more likely to draw support from moderate Democrats and Republicans, especially now that extending the assault weapons ban has the president's support.

Gun-rights groups said they will try to defeat both bills.

"Empirical evidence shows this gun ban has had zero effect on reducing crime," said Andrew Arulanandam, spokesman for the National Rifle Association.

Both sides in the debate said it is unclear which side will prevail. While the bills are set to be introduced Thursday, a vote is unlikely to occur before next year.

In the meantime, the gun debate of the moment is over a bill to provide gun makers and distributors protection from being sued for damages resulting from their product. The House already has passed the measure, which is now awaiting Senate action.

Joe Sudbay of the Violence Policy Center said he was hopeful that Republican campaign efforts to win suburbs, where gun control sentiment typically is strong, will help the assault weapons ban in Congress.

"In swing districts, suburban districts particularly, a lot of members are going to have to decide whether they want to be on the side of supporting the assault weapons ban or letting it expire," Sudbay said.

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, a Georgia Republican and NRA director, said the debate over assault weapons next year could be the same catalyst it was in 1994.

"It could be a real rallying cry for conservatives right around the election," Barr said.

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modifiedbrowning
May 8, 2003, 12:56 AM
There are probably more "assault weapons"(my emphasis) nationally on the market than there were in 1994
So, what's the problem with that? Oh, My God! Blood in the streets! There are more "Assault Weapons" than 1994, but still the amount of crime committed with a "military style semiautomatic rifle" is virtually nil. What is the point of this law?

ahadams
May 8, 2003, 01:00 AM
ah! I love the sound of desperate wimps, wimpering together!

carp killer
May 8, 2003, 01:15 AM
The bill by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., is modeled on California law, which supporters of gun control point to as much more effective than the federal law in combating the effort by gun makers to evade the ban.

And the California law is based on cosmetics! If it looks evil, it must be bad.:evil:

foghornl
May 8, 2003, 10:50 AM
I'm not split at all. My policy:
You vote for this, and I NEVER vote for you again.

If you do vote for this, please hold your breath while you wait for my vote. I want to see how purple you get before falling down.

Yanus
May 8, 2003, 10:57 AM
The battle will be won or lost in the House. I predict that this bill will never get out of committee in the House as long as Tom DeLay runs the show. I believe the White House is gambling on this being the outcome to protect its flank.


Yanus

DJJ
May 8, 2003, 11:00 AM
I heard it predicted that antis would attempt to manipulate the terms of the debate, and it's started. Instead of the debate being "let it die vs. renew it", it's "renew it as-is or enact a stricter one".

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