Just wanted to share this with everyone:
Well, we did it!
I don't know about the rest of you, but right now feels just like when you're on the way home from a long trip, and after what seems like an eternity behind the wheel, you finally see the Interstate sign that says you're only a few miles from home. After 10 long years, the failed experiment that is the so-called "assault weapons" ban is coming to a close tonight*.
This victory is primarily symbolic... let's be honest, the main reason why many of us agonized over our lack of adjustable stocks and flash suppressors was that we couldn't have them (well, not without paying a lot more than we felt like we should have to), though the price premium inflicted on some full-capacity magazines was brutal. But, even though the expiration is mostly symbolic, the symbolism is undeniably HUGE. More than anything else, this is a tremendous defeat for the anti-gun movement, effectively stopping it in its tracks. Though they haven't made much (if any) progress in recent years, the AWB was their signature issue, the renewal of which they probably felt would be a slam-dunk. But despite the intense campaign of misinformation, including despicable scare tactics, over-the-top emotional rhetoric, misleading use of statistics, and making the public think the ban restricted machine guns, logic prevailed, and the ban is not going to be renewed.
Anyway, while we take some time to enjoy our hard-fought victory, let us begin to look towards and prepare for the next phase of this battle... follow-through.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein stated a month or two ago, after essentially giving up hope of passing an AWB renewal this year, that she as looking to the November elections to produce a Congress and White House that would be more favorable to the prospect of passing her gun ban. It is up to us to ensure this does not happen.
Many gun owners were understandably upset at President Bush's position of supporting renewal of the ban. But still, here we are... on the cusp of the ban's expiration. President Bush, while maintaining his position that he would sign the ban if it reached his desk, never pushed Congress to do so. Of course, it is likely that even if he had pushed Congress, it still would not have passed in the House, but it certainly did not hurt for him to simply take a passive position on the issue.
John Kerry, on the other hand, strongly supports not only renewing the ban, but "strengthening" it, as he is a co-sponsor of Sen. Frank Lautenberg's radically expanded ban. This frightening bill, S.1431, would ban many more guns, including some specifically "protected" by the 1994 ban. ALL AR-15 and AK-style firearms would be banned (including what we now consider to be "post-ban" firearms), likely bringing an end to the many competitions that use the former. In addition, all semiautomatic rifles or shotguns that have "any characteristic that can function as a grip" would be banned. This dangerously broad description includes pretty much all semiautomatic long guns that have ever been produced, including the shotgun Kerry himself recently received as a gift.
While I doubt there are many gun owners who are going to vote for Kerry anyway, many of us might be considering voting for a third party candidate who maintains an even stronger position on the Second Amendment than President Bush. While it is very tempting to vote for a candidate who so strongly supports the right to keep and bear arms, I think the Republican party has delivered on their promise to support the Second Amendment, and President Bush is getting my vote.
Getting the vote out for Congressional elections is very important too. While Republicans do not appear to be at risk of losing control of the House, adding to the margin of power there would certainly bolster our position. In the Senate, however, there are enough close races that power could possibly shift to the Democrats. That would mean Sen. Bill Frist, the person who essentially shut down any chance of the AWB coming up in that body after Feinstein got her one chance in March, would no longer control the Senate agenda.
So, in short, it is VITAL that we all show up to the polls in November.
Next, although we politically active gun owners are the foot soldiers in this battle, organizations like the NRA and GOA are the heavy artillery. Of course, that statement is somewhat contradictory, as these organizations CONSIST of gun owners. Without us they are nothing... and that's the point. Each of us, waging our own little war against the AWB and gun control in general, can certainly have an effect. But our strength is multiplied tenfold when we actually band together in the form of joining organizations like these. THAT is why the so-called "gun lobby" (which would be more accurately termed the "gun OWNER lobby") is so feared... it is the combination of all of us individually doing our part to ensure our elected officials know how important this issue is to us, AND collectively pooling our resources to accomplish things that, individually, would be impossible, that keeps the Second Amendment protected.
So, if you are not already a member, IMMEDIATELY join the National Rifle Association, and if you can, join Gun Owners of America too. Without these organizations, we would likely not be celebrating right now. If you are already a member of the NRA, please donate some additional funds to the NRA-ILA, even if it's just $20 or so, as this is the arm of the NRA that actually does the work of representing our interests in government.
THE FUTURE OF AWBANSUNSET.COM
Honestly, I had not given much thought as to what would happen to this site once the ban expired. While it has been suggested that the site take aim at some other gun restrictions, I've always felt that the site was created for one purpose, and once that goal was accomplished, that would be the end of it. I figured I might leave it up for a while, in a static state, as a tribute to what we had all accomplished, but nothing else beyond that. But a few months ago, I began to realize how foolish it was for me to think that the expiration of the ban would mark the end of this fight. Of course, I recognize that the fight against gun control will NEVER end, and that there will always be efforts to introduce new AWBs. But I now realize that 2005 will be just as critically important to the expiration of the AWB as 2004 was. The anti-gun side is viewing the upcoming elections as a referendum on the expiration of the AWB, and though the ban is now dead, 2005 will be the year to bury it.
That is our new goal, and we will remain online for at least the next year.
To everyone who has taken an active role in this fight, thank you, and CONGRATULATIONS! We did it! The ban is history... let's make sure it stays that way.
Now, where did I put that AR-15 adjustable stock wrench?
* Note: There has been a lot of confusion over this, but I think the law is clear... the ban expires at midnight on the 13th (in other words, the night of the 12th). The sunset provision dictates that the ban is "repealed effective the date that is 10 years after [the date of enactment]." The ban was enacted on 9/13/94, therefore effective 9/13/04, the ban is no longer in effect.
Where the confusion likely stems from is that the restrictions of the ban did not take effect until the following day, the 14th. So, some people think the ban expires 10 years from that day. But, the law clearly states that E-day is 10 years from the date of enactment, which makes it the 13th.
In addition, when I called the ATF's public affairs division a week or two ago, I was told the ban expires on the 13th (though this was not an "official" statement).
On top of that, there is confusion as to what constitutes the first moment of a day... when a reference is made to "midnight September 13th," that means the first moment of Monday, not the last.
You can make your own decision as to whether to celebrate the ban's demise tonight, or tomorrow night, but the wording of the law seems to clearly indicate tonight. But if you fear ATF agents will come crashing through your windows if you put your new upper on, you might want to wait until tomorrow.
Outstanding! And yes, we do need to have a loud voice at the polls this November.
Missed it by 4 seconds! CONGRATULATIONS
A year? This is the most informative site that I have found on the internet, at least so forth as my interests are concerned. I say let's live on. My membership is on the way shortly...Thanks for the time and trouble!