Assault Weapons Ban Expires 9/13/04 - Bush must sign renewal

In 1994, Congress passed and the President (Bill Clinton) signed the Assault Weapons Ban banning Americans from purchasing assault weapons such as AK47s (weapons of war & mass destruction) in gun shops and other venues. I'm not talking about hunting rifles or even hand guns...ASSAULT WEAPONS are for killing massive numbers of people at one time.

However, starting next Monday, they can and will be sold LEGALLY (i.e., the bill "sunsets"--unless President Bush signs the renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban as he promised to do). Please send a message to President Bush to sign the ban renewal.

Here are a few websites with facts on the upcoming deadline, and information on how you can send a message to the President to SIGN THE ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN BEFORE IT EXPIRES ON SEPTEMBER 13.

Brady Campaign

Join Together

Violence Policy Center

Working for Change

This is not a partisan issue; it is a matter of life and death.

From 9/10 NYT , a column by Clyde Haberman focusing on Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy and the good work she's been doing.

For those who would play "devils advocate", here's a story about how gun manufacturers view things: Detroit Free Press.

Comments

Re:Questions

birdie, is this really a response? I asked for reasons to think that the assault weapon ban has reduced or can reduce crime or accidental death and injury from firearms. The heart of my comment was this: that if no evidence can be adduced that a will do what is claimed for it, then it is irrational to advance it as a remedy for the problem in question. If you have reason to think the assault weapons ban has proved effectual, show me the reason. If not, what possible argument can be advanced in its support?

"I heard the N.R.A. say that only a small amount of people, of police officers, were killed with these types of assault weapons," she (McCarthy) said. "Well, you know what? To me, a small amount, whether it's 5 percent, 6 percent, that's a lot of lives that can be saved.

Show me reason to think that the assault weapon ban, the law in question, will save one life. The most the ban does is make arms and magazines covered by the ban, but manufactured before it, more expensive. And (pace Senator Kerry) the difference in price will not deter even a modestly funded terrorist effort. Of course, any serious terrorists will not even bother with the semi-automatic weapons legally available on the American market. How tough would it be to import a couple of crates of real (i.e. fully automatic) AK-47s on a truck or container ship, given the supposed incompetence of homeland security under Bush?

"Let's face it," she said, "unfortunately down the road some horrible incident's going to happen, and then the American people will wake up and go, 'Well, why didn't our congresspeople take care of this?' That's when an awful lot of people here in the House are going to have to look at themselves and ask, 'Why didn't we prevent this?' "

Please explain to me exactly how Congressman McCarthy knows that something horrible will occur that could have been prevented by the ban? Note that as a matter of simple, bare, unpartisan logic, both conditions must be met:

  1. something horrible involving "assault weapons" will happen; and
  2. that horrible something will turn out to be something of which we can say with some certainty that it could have been prevented by the law known as the assault weapons ban.

Let's grant that (1) is true and something horrible will occur at least once; how does Congressman McCarthy know that (2) is also the case for enough (1)s so as to merit a law? If (2) isn't the case, then the assault weapons ban will have been entirely irrelevant for the the horrible event (1). McCarthy's argument for the assault weapons ban fails if she cannot show that (2) will obtain with (1) at least some of the time.

And, if the American people ask "why didn't our congresspeople take care of this?" without first asking "is there a Constitutional law that could have prevented this", then they will demonstrate yet again that they have the government they deserve.

Make Congress send him the bill

Non partisan part here:


The president can't sign what Congress does not send him. If you support continuation of this ban then get on your senators and representatives to pass the bill so it can be sent to the president. I read that the president has said that he will sign it if it is sent to him.

Partisan part here:


Personally I don't think it makes a bit of difference if it is signed or not. I own several firearms and many of them, save the single action revolvers I own, could kill many people in just a few seconds.
I own firearms that would be covered under the ban. pistol grip shotguns and handguns with magazine capacities >10. I bought all of these guns after I was a police officer (for all 9 months) so I was not covered under any special exemption.


That said I am sure that there are lots of nuts and criminals that should not own guns, and I think the instant background system does a good job of weeding them out. Someone I worked with asked me to buy a gun for him because he was a felon as he wrote a bad check many years ago for > $500. I explained that straw purchases like that would make us both felons, and I also told him if I saw him with a gun I would narc on him. Nice guy but the law is the law.


So I can be killed just as easily with a non-ban gun as I can with a ban gun. There is no real definition of what an 'assault weapon' is, they are banned primarily by how they look or how many bullets they hold - stupid reasons to ban an otherwise legal gun.


So lets enforce the gun laws we have now, and not re-enact the ban. Remember president Reagan was shot with a .22 cal revolver, a weapon certainly not covered by the ban.

Re:Make Congress send him the bill

Mdoneil -- Technically it's true, the president can't sign what doesn't make his desk. However, we all know the power of the bullypulpit and if he
wants something all he has to do is tell Dennis Hastert and Tom DeLay in the House to move the bill. Since both of those gentleman are loathe to act we must force the president's hand and call him on his
word to renew the ban.

illegal guns

M. Are you advertising to the world that you own multiple illegal guns? Combine that with some of the things you've said around here and other places, you may be up for a close inspection of the Patriot Act.

You see, there is a fringe elements of the right that scare the feds as much as Arabs do.

I suppose, for the Secret Service, you might fit the profile of a potential right wing terrorist.

"A dreary carefully conservative appearance, doesn't relate well with the opposite sex, has a collection of illegal guns, that he's very proud of, has a uniform fetish, has been having trouble finding and keeping jobs, has trouble with authority figures, likes to read about dictators, political tyrants and assassinations. Only lasted nine months on the police department...might have a grudge about it, writes nasty things to and about elected officials..."

Now, getting serious, I am not suggesting that anything I said about you, above, is true. But, anyone reading your stuff, around here and other places, could actually interpret you, your words, your actions, in just the manner described above.

Once someone in authority decides to see you that way, finding 'evidence' is not that difficult.

If you had stayed with the police a couple of years, you may have figured out why the majority of police departments in the US support the assault weapons ban.

A word to the wise: You are no longer a police officer. The weapons restrictions apply to you as much as anyone else. The FBI is only a phone call away to anyone in America.

Anyone could drop a dime on you, anytime. As you just said, the law is the law.

When the reality of this sinks in, that nervous dread in the back of your head is what every Arab American feels every day of their lives.

Hey, buddy, gotta' dime?

Re:illegal guns

Quote from md's post: "I own firearms that would be covered under the ban. pistol grip shotguns and handguns with magazine capacities >10."

So, if Bush signs what he should, then md would indeed, by his own admission, be the owner of illegal firearms. I'm sure he'd dispose of them appropriately if necessary.

You know what you all need, don't you? A gun registry!(my tongue is very much in cheek) That way you can waste millions of gov't money on a program that is idiotic and takes away some of your rights re: the police and searches.

I don't think Joe Citizen needs to own fully or semi automatic weapons. However, I don't have a problem with people owning guns--for hunting, target shooting or protection, as long as things are stored properly and safely. Yes, you read that right: this Cdn liberal isn't against gun ownership!! Background checks and waiting periods should be mandatory.

My step father is a retired gunsmith, so I grew up with guns in the house and while I have never fired a weapon (nor have any interest to) I was taught how to properly handle a gun. When we had the corner store, dad did smithing and sold weapons, accessories, ammo. After my parents sold the store, dad had a shop out of the house, but the red tape and the fees they were charging him finally drove him out of business. Once the registry was made law, he got rid of his guns. He does belong to the NFA (NRA lite)and did try to fight the registry. But as usual, the cdn gov't steamrolled it in. Now it's cost us a couple million bucks and it isn't worth two cents.

But that's just MY two cents...

s/

Re:illegal guns

You and I may know that it has nothing to do with his arguement, but who knows what Johnny Ashcroft may think? His mind works in mysterious ways and he could consider the hapless Mdoniel a "person of interest"...perhaps an I.R.A. connection...We'll just have to wait and see.

Re:Make Congress send him the bill

Birdie, I have to agree with Mdoneil. He presents reasoned arguments. In addition, my family has had a traditional mistrust of "gun control" due to experiences in the "old country". I suppose it's in the blood.

Re:illegal guns

What does any of that nonsense have to do with his arguement? He said he had no special priviledges when he bought the guns so they're not illegal.

Questions

I'm curious to find out how people reason that assault weapons should be banned. So often one hears reasons like "no-one needs an assault rifle" or "they are just designed to kill people", which really don't amount to a serious argument, since they give no evidence that assault weapons are in fact a large enough threat to public safety to merit legislation. The only force that such arguments have as far as I can tell is emotional.

So what reasons do you give to argue that assault weapons are a great enough danger to merit a special law? Here are some suggestions--perhaps you have others.

  • Are assault weapons favored by criminals or used in a particularly
    high proportion of crimes in the U.S.?
  • Do assault weapons kill a particularly large number of people each year?
  • Do assault weapons fire a more powerful round than other firearms?
  • Are assault weapons more accurate than other firearms?

Of course, for any of these reasons to carry weight, they must be backed up with evidence. For instance, if assault weapons aren't frequently used in crimes, then even in the best case banning them obviously won't have much (if any) effect on the crime rate. Likewise, if they aren't implicated in many firearm-related injuries or deaths, banning them won't have much effect on public safety. To argue cogently from a crime or public safety perspective, it seems to me one needs to demonstrate an actual effect of the availability of assault rifles on these areas. Can you show any evidence that the assault weapon ban has had any real effect on crime or firearms casualties so far?

You may well have other reasons. If so, I'd be curious to know what they are. Do you think that the only valid category of reason to ban assault weapons is for reasons of public safety? Or are there other categories of argument against assault rifles?

I for my part have to wonder why Tom Diaz of the Violence Policy Center said (and I'm citing the Volokh Conspiracy):

"If the existing assault weapons ban expires, I personally do not be lieve it will make one whit of difference one way or another" in "reducing death and injury."

Was Diaz perhaps being too candid?

Re: illegal guns

Thomas, you forgot to ask Matthew if he had stopped beating his wife/dog/boss/whatever. :-p

Clarification

I think Matthew's point was that he was able legally to purchase items that under other conditions would be covered by the ban. E.g. it is perfectly legal under the ban to purchase magazines that hold more than 10 rounds as long as the magazines were manufactured prior to the ban. Perhaps the chief effect of the ban has been to jack up the price of pre-ban magazines and guns.

Re:illegal guns

I misread part of M's post, sorry. however, the point remains.Makhno seems to have figured it out.On a more technical note; M described his weapons saying that they would be covered under the ban. That would seem to indicate they are covered by the present ban which is up for renewal.Oddly enough, I'm not a big gun hater either. My dad was a career law enforcement officer, in Alabama. He was a serious competitive shooter and I virtually grew up on the police range.At 14 and 15 yrs., the only police officer I knew who could regularly beat me on the PPC course was my dad. I took him off the 'better than me' shooters list at 16.I own no guns now and live in Canada where people own guns but don't carry them around. It's better this way. I've lived in both environments and this is better.Re what M said about the .22 being lethal. That is certainly true. But, had the nut that shot Pres. Reagan been using a .223 instead of a .22, Reagan would have died that day.Remember the two nuts that held the entire LA police department at bay while shooting up the neighbourhood with assault weapons?The .223 calibre weapons pierce body armour and even automobiles. Zings right through them. The police took numerous wounds before the gunmen were taken out by police.There are plenty of firearms around without having these automatic cannons in the mix.What need has an honest citizen for a pistol gripe shotgun, that can be carried under an overcoat? It is not a target weapon, it is not a hunting weapon. For home defence it need not be concealed. I don't get it?

Re:Questions

Chuck B asks,

* Are assault weapons favored by criminals or used in a particularly high proportion of crimes in the U.S.?

* Do assault weapons kill a particularly large number of people each year?

* Do assault weapons fire a more powerful round than other firearms?

* Are assault weapons more accurate than other firearms?

I'll respond in part by quoting directly from the excellent Clyde Haberman column in today's NYT (link on main journal), and repeat the words of Mr. Haberman and Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy:

"I heard the N.R.A. say that only a small amount of people, of police officers, were killed with these types of assault weapons," she (McCarthy) said. "Well, you know what? To me, a small amount, whether it's 5 percent, 6 percent, that's a lot of lives that can be saved. We're talking about our police officers."

"It comes down to this," she said. "Are we going to be standing by our police officers, or are we going to stand with the N.R.A.? I mean, it comes down to that. This is a slam dunk as far as that goes."

On the eve of another Sept. 11, elected officials warn of more terrorist attacks to come. They are talking about Al Qaeda and its ilk. But other terrors lurk, Ms. McCarthy cautioned.

"Let's face it," she said, "unfortunately down the road some horrible incident's going to happen, and then the American people will wake up and go, 'Well, why didn't our congresspeople take care of this?' That's when an awful lot of people here in the House are going to have to look at themselves and ask, 'Why didn't we prevent this?' "

Classic liberal

Birdie is a classic liberal. She has decided this issue on emotion and facts will not be allowed to stand in the way.

Re:Classic liberal

And proud to be. Classy liberal is even better.

Re:Classic liberal

It may be flamebait but it is true.

Re:I am a Classic liberal

I've no objection to being called a classic liberal.
Not to worry Biblio.

But you could call me a teletubby or whatever and it wouldn't matter...Bush let the assault weapons ban deadline pass.

Go forth & buy assault weapons and big ammo magazines and enjoy the freedoms of your second amendment!

Meanwhile, while more and more Americans are needlessly killed by gun violence.

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