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Gun control,AWB front page news again

Discussion in 'Legal' started by gunsmith, Feb 9, 2004.

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  1. gunsmith

    gunsmith member

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    http://www.thehill.com/news/020304/guns.aspx
    and from that rag in Frisco the chronic liars,oop's the chronicle
    http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/02/09/MNGH04S1DU1.DTL
    Washington -- Gun control hasn't emerged as a leading issue in the 2004 presidential race, but that is likely to change as Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein intensifies her effort to win renewal of the decade-old assault weapons ban, which expires in September.

    Feinstein's bid should be as tightly contested and bitterly fought as it was 10 years ago. The ban will be part of a package of firearms legislation before Congress that includes a gun industry proposal to win an exemption from the type of liability lawsuits filed by San Francisco and other cities across the country.

    The gun control issue will surface in the middle of the campaigns for the White House and Congress. Many Republicans oppose renewal of the assault weapons ban, which House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, promises will never even come up for a floor vote in the lower house. However, President Bush has said he will sign a renewal, if it makes it to his desk.

    Some congressional Democrats are uneasy about the coming fight. Many blame the party's loss of House control in 1994 on the assault weapons vote of that year and President Bill Clinton's support for the law. Al Gore's pro-gun- control positions may have cost him the electoral votes of West Virginia and New Hampshire in 2000 -- along with the presidency.

    "Guns will be an issue in the election. The more Congress has to deal with it, the more candidates will be asked about it,'' said Robert J. Spitzer, a professor at the State University of New York at Cortland and the author of "The Politics of Gun Control.''

    Sensitivity to gun owners

    Democratic presidential candidates Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, for example, have said they support banning assault weapons. But they have gone out of their way to show sensitivity to gun owners' rights. Kerry, for instance, took reporters and camera crews along on an Iowa pheasant hunt.

    As always, the National Rifle Association and its allies are gearing up to push the gunmakers' proposal, kill bills such as Feinstein's and seek political retribution against those who support the legislation.

    "We're working,'' Feinstein said, citing polls that show overwhelming public support for the assault weapons ban. "I don't know how many votes we have. We have a number of undecided senators, and my job is to go get their votes,'' she said of the legislation she is co-sponsoring with Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

    But Feinstein, whose success with the gun bill in 1994 put the then- freshman senator on the national political map, realizes it will be difficult to win renewal of the law. It banned the manufacture, sale and distribution of 19 specific types of semi-automatic guns that she says exist only to be used to try to kill large numbers of people with rapid fire.

    "Every bill dealing with guns is uphill because of the gun lobby. That's no surprise,'' she said.

    Promise isn't enough

    Feinstein said Bush's promise to sign the renewal isn't enough, especially because of the opposition to the bill among his party's majority congressional leaders.

    "We've asked the president to help and he has not, and that is very discouraging and disappointing,'' she said. "If the Republican Party in an election year wants to kill a bill that has dominant public support, it becomes a legitimate campaign issue.''

    When asked if Bush would work for the ban's renewal, White House spokesman Ken Lisaius said Bush's commitment to the ban remains strong. "The president has long said he supports it, and that has not changed,'' he said.

    The rifle association is ready to fight, and makes it clear that anyone voting for the assault weapons ban and against the liability protection will face the wrath of its 4 million members.

    "I can't underscore the importance of this. It is a very important issue to our members,'' NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said.

    "The NRA is a savvy and active voting bloc, and this voting bloc can make a very big difference in any election,'' he added.

    The group knows its audience, and has created the Web site www.clintongunban.com to stir up opposition to the assault weapons renewal.

    Feinstein and Schumer say their bill has worked, citing data showing that in 1995 assault weapons represented 3.57 percent of guns recovered from crimes. By 2002, assault weapons represented only 1.22 percent.

    But opponents say the ban hasn't reduced crime. Instead, they cite tougher sentences and police programs like Project Exile, which has been used in many cities to go after repeat offenders who use guns in crimes. Arulanandam said the decade of experience with the law shows it is unnecessary.

    Criticism from other side

    Feinstein even has critics among gun-control advocates, who argue the assault weapons ban needs to be strengthened.

    The 10-year-old law was painstakingly hammered out to get enough votes for passage. The guns it covered had to meet a so-called two-characteristic test, meaning the weapon could be banned if it had two features from a long list that included items such as automatic ammunition clips, a pistol grip, a barrel shroud or flash suppressor.

    To get around the ban, manufacturers simply changed the guns to remove one of the characteristics on the list and kept on producing them. The Bushmaster XM15 used in the 2002 sniper shootings in the Washington, D.C., area, for instance, was one of these weapons, a clone of the banned AR-15 assault rifle.

    This loophole is one that would be closed in legislation introduced in the House and Senate that is even stricter than the Feinstein-Schumer legislation. Its co-sponsors include Feinstein's California Democratic colleague, Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is running for re-election this November.

    Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, has decided "it's not good enough just to renew a law with loopholes that have caused the death of law enforcement officers and helped those who want to commit terrorism,'' said Ted Kalo, the Democratic counsel for the House Judiciary Committee.

    But Feinstein said those who want an even tougher ban are not realistic.

    "It doesn't have a chance,'' she said of the tougher bill.

    The NRA and the gun manufacturers feel they are close to Senate passage of the bill that would protect gunmakers and dealers from liability suits, a blanket protection given no other industry. The measure, which easily passed the House last year, has 55 co-sponsors, including Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota and his chief deputy, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada.

    That number of supporters is key because 60 votes are needed in the Senate to cut off a filibuster.

    "I find it a dismaying part of public life that guns can be given a protection against lawsuits that no other industry has," Feinstein said.

    E-mail Edward Epstein at eepstein@sfchronicle.com.
     
  2. gunsmith

    gunsmith member

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    Automatic ammunition clips?

    Do they mean standard capacity magazines? I never heard of these "automatic ammunition clips" before today are they some kind of NFA thing that I never ever see in Small Arms Review?
     
  3. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Heck, I could use some automatic ammunition clips! Clipping ammunition by hand is just too slow and laborious.
     
  4. idd

    idd Member

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    9 February 2004


    Edward Epstein


    Dear Mr. Epstein:

    You write that the 1994 "assault weapons" ban covered weapons which had two features "from a long list that included items such as automatic ammunition clips, a pistol grip, a barrel shroud or flash suppressor."

    What exactly is an "automatic ammunition clip"? All of us gun owners are scratching our heads over this.

    You also refer to the AR-15 as an "assault rifle." Did you know that the AR-15 is a semiautomatic rifle? It shoots one (and only one) round with each pull of the trigger. The term "assault rifle" is a technical term from the firearms lexicon which refers to various types of fully-automatic and select-fire (multi-shot burst) intermediate-power long guns. Note: this term should not be confused with the loosely-defined politico-legal term "assault weapon," which refers to any of a number of classes of pistols, rifles, and shotguns. http://www.wordiq.com/cgi-bin/knowledge/lookup.cgi?title=Assault_rifle

    The AR-15 is not an "assault rifle" since it is not fire more than one shot per trigger pull.

    "Assault weapon" is a propaganda term like "gateway drug."

    Regards,

    [idd]
     
  5. nico

    nico Member

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    doesn't sound like such a great idea to limit people's rights just because of "dominant public support" now does it?:rolleyes:
    btw, I'd contend that if the AWB has "dominant public support" it's purely because of ignorance. I don't know many people who know anything about firearms, and I'd bet that at least 90% of them think "assault weapon"=machine gun and that there's some significant difference between an AR15 and a "hunting rifle."
     
  6. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

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    nico,

    Actually GW Bush has been more than willing to limit the first amendment as well.

    Check out the campaign finance reform bill he signed.
     
  7. nico

    nico Member

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    Yeah, I know. That law is one of the big problems I have with bush, especially since he said he thought it was unconstitutional and now nobody has any explanation for why he signed it. But, on the same token, Kerry most likely would have rubber stamped it too, so what can you do besides complain?
     
  8. Leatherneck

    Leatherneck Member

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    Hey, idd: very good letter!

    TC
    TFL Survivor
     
  9. Yowza

    Yowza Member

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    Blatant misrepresentation here. Not that I expect anything else.

    Rick
     
  10. fix

    fix Member

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    Am I mistaken, or did this godless pinko commie just accuse me of wanting to commit terrorism?

    :cuss:
     
  11. Maimaktes

    Maimaktes member

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    Ain't tellin'.
    Fix, you heard right. All during the Clinton years "terrorist" was used as a synonym for "gun owner." And it will be that way again when someone like Kerry or Hillary -- or pretty much *any* Democrat -- gets in there. They want to drop all this silly nonsense of chasing after actual Islamic jihadists and concentrate instead on cracking down on gun owning *Americans* as much as possible. When the Donkey Gangsters say "terrorists" they mean *us*.

    And some of the Elephant Gangsters do too.

    Maimaktes
     
  12. TheOtherOne

    TheOtherOne Member

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    Everytime I read a statement like that it makes me so mad. It's like they want everyone to believe that if the rifle used had been covered under the ban, the shootings would never have happened. It's not like they could have used something that would have left alot less survivors like a "high-powered 30.06 sniper/deer rifle".
     
  13. Sippenhaft

    Sippenhaft Member

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    Hey its the NRA, "As always". What a petty, stupid side comment to include in a piece that is supposed to be masquerading as journalism.
     
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