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Posted: 5/16/2003 4:54:26 PM EDT
By Jim VandeHei Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, May 13, 2003; 6:00 PM The Republican-controlled House will not renew the federal ban on Uzis and other semiautomatic weapons, a key leader said today, dealing a significant blow to the campaign to clamp down on gun sales nationwide. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) said most House members are willing to let the ban expire next year. "The votes in the House are not there" to continue the ban, DeLay told reporters. His spokesman, Stuart Roy, said, "We have no intention of bringing it up" for a vote. As majority leader, DeLay decides which bills get voted on in the House. Because the 1994 assault weapons ban expires next year, the House and Senate must pass legislation renewing it by Sept. 13, 2004. If Congress fails to act, the AK-47 and 18 other types of semiautomatic weapons that were outlawed by Clinton and a Democratic-controlled Congress a decade ago would be legal again, handing a major victory to the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups. Past votes and an NRA survey of lawmakers before the 2002 elections suggest that a majority of House members oppose the ban's renewal, GOP officials said. But several Republicans, who requested anonymity, said some pro-gun GOP leaders worry that if members are forced into a rollcall vote, they might switch under pressure from gun control advocates. President Bush, whose support of the assault weapons ban dates to his 2000 campaign, has drawn rebukes from NRA members and some GOP lawmakers on the issue. But several Republicans close to the White House said Bush has no plans to lobby lawmakers aggressively to extend the ban. That would allow him to officially oppose the NRA without completely turning against the powerful gun lobby by fighting hard to maintain a ban on semiautomatic weapons. "The White House seems to think that the bill will never reach the President's desk," said a recent alert sent to members of the Gun Owners of America, a pro-gun group with close ties to Republicans. "At least that is what top officials are counting on. In pursuing this strategy, they are trying to please both sides and are playing a very dangerous game." Congressional Republicans said Congress will renew the ban only if Bush publicly and firmly insists. "If the president demands we pass it, that would change the dynamics considerably," said a House GOP leadership aide. "The White House does not want us" to vote. In a letter to Bush, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) said: "It is now time for us to stand up against the unconstitutional gun-grabbing and help our nation in this time of great need by allowing law-abiding citizens to use the weapon of their choice." It's unclear how much pressure Bush and congressional Republicans will be under to bring up the volatile gun issue, especially in the 2004 election year. While many leading Senate and House Democrats are pushing legislation to renew the ban, the issue is not sharply partisan. Many rural and southern Democrats, including a few who voted for the ban in 1994, oppose its renewal, reflecting a notable shift in the politics of guns during the past decade. An aide to a Senate Democrat who voted for the ban in 1994 and faces reelection next year said many Democrats "hope it never comes up." The reason for the turnabout is rooted, in part, in the fallout of the 1994 vote and vice president Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign loss. In 1994, the Democratic-controlled House and Senate narrowly passed the ban on the sale and possession of 19 semiautomatic, rapid-fire guns and ammunition clips holding more than 10 rounds. Proponents of the ban said those weapons -- and copycat versions that don't fall under the ban -- are frequently used in violent crimes, including the deaths of scores of law enforcement officials. Opponents said the ban violates the constitutional right to bear arms. The Democratic-controlled House passed the Clinton-backed gun ban by two votes in May 1994. A few months later, House Speaker Thomas Foley (D-Wash.), Judiciary Committee Chairman Jack Brooks (D-Texas) and several other Democrats who supported the ban were voted out of office after the NRA and other gun activists targeted them with a relentless political campaign. The NRA's power ebbed and flowed throughout the rest of the 1990s, hitting a highwater mark following Gore's narrow loss in 2000. Gore lost pro-gun bastions such as Arkansas, West Virginia and his home state of Tennessee, in part, some Democratic analysts believe, because he was seen as hostile to gun owners. In this year's first debate among Democratic presidential hopefuls, only Al Sharpton vigorously endorsed the registration and licensing of handguns. Most congressional Democratic leaders and presidential candidates strongly support the assault weapons ban and appear ready to wage a public fight over an issue they believe may pack a political punch with independents and women, in particular. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) recently introduced legislation that would extend the Clinton gun ban with only minor modifications. If the House rejects the renewal, however, Senate action won't matter. In the House, Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) last week introduced a tougher bill that would ban a larger number of guns. "I don't want to put my members in any trouble. But if we actually face this, the American people [will support] keeping assault weapons from going back on the street," said McCarthy.
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 5:00:19 PM EDT
Old news. Since this came out, a higher-up guy said that they hadn't made that decision yet, this was all just a prediction, yadda, yadda, yadda...I've started expecting the whole thing to blow over and for us to have a stricter magazine ban.
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 5:11:06 PM EDT
I was listening to talk radio the other day and on the news at the top of the hour was a blurb that said "Rep Denney Hastert has not said he won't bring the AW Ban up in the house for discussion" and that Pres Bush backs the ban. I guess we'll see what happens real soon.
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 5:44:24 PM EDT
I think it is still too early to celebrate. In Washington nothing is guarenteed. Bobwrench
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 5:48:55 PM EDT
Start Calling your [green]Representatives[/green] and [green]Senators[/green][red] NOW[/red] and let them know that they won't get your vote or your friends vote if they back the renewal. It's coming up on an election year!
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 6:05:23 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 6:08:17 PM EDT
It will not be time to 'WoooHoooo!!!!' until Sept 14, 2004.
Link Posted: 5/17/2003 12:18:42 AM EDT
The majority leader schedules votes. He is supposed to take the Speaker's advice, but he doesn't have to. In short, that means that if DeLay says "NO VOTE"...he cannot be overruled, even by the Speaker (Hastert) himself.
Link Posted: 5/17/2003 1:08:07 AM EDT
Are my eyes slanted or is it just that article? What's up with the Uzi reference in the first sentence? 99% chance most people will think "full-auto cop-killing trenchcoat-hidden murder-weapon."
Link Posted: 5/17/2003 1:10:42 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/17/2003 2:02:48 AM EDT
This seems almost too good to be true...
Link Posted: 5/17/2003 2:23:41 AM EDT
Someone pinch me am I dreaming?????????????
Link Posted: 5/17/2003 2:40:54 AM EDT
I'll beleive it [i]when[/i] i see it.
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