Friday, September 10, 2004
A political dodge derails the weapons ban
The president talked a good game, but he and Congress have conspired to let the law lapse.
The Roanoke Times
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The National Rifle Association hit the bull's eye: a president talking out of both sides of his mouth and a Congress all too willing to go along.
The almost-certain result is that the federal law banning assault weapons will expire Monday, opening the door for the sale of military-style firearms. Weapons with such deadly efficiency don't belong on America's streets. Washington's failure to reauthorize the ban is nothing more than political evasiveness at the expense of public safety.
President Clinton signed the assault weapons ban in 1994, prohibiting the sale of 19 weapons and outlawing magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
During the 2000 campaign, President Bush said he supported the assault weapons ban. This week, a White House spokesman reiterated the president's position.
But when asked what Bush was doing to prod Congress to act, the spokesman said, "The president doesn't set the congressional timetable. Congress sets the timetable."
Critics accusing Bush of trying to have it both ways are on the mark.
Republican leaders won't take up the issue without a nod from the president, and he hasn't pressed them.
In fact, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas, who calls the ban "a feel-good piece of legislation," said Congress doesn't have the votes anyway to renew the ban. "It will expire Monday, and that's that," DeLay said.
Score yet another one for the NRA. The powerful gun rights lobby has made overturning the ban a priority, calling it "bogus legislation."
The law's backers, who include police officers and other law enforcement authorities nationwide, admit that the law is riddled with loopholes. But they say crimes traceable to assault weapons have dropped by two-thirds in the past 10 years.
The way to address concerns about the assault weapons law is not to let it die, but to revise it. Bush has said he will sign a reauthorization of the law. Congress should present him with a bill and hold him to his word.
We're gonna be hearing all this crying until they finally get it out of their system and realize they've just simply lost.
Now we have to get ready for the next onslaught of attacks and be vigilant so no other bans are ever allowed to pass.
Score one for the NRA??
Score one for the citizens and our right to protection!
This thing only passed by a single vote....