Monday, September 13, 2004

Assault Weapons Ban - EXPIRED

The Assault Weapons Ban, a law that bans 19 types of military style assault weapons and which Clinton signed into law in 1994, is expiring today despite George W. Bush's promise to sign its renewal. His promise to do so married with his lack of effort to get a renewal on his desk marks Bush's usual strategy of having it both ways -- he can tell supporters of the ban (2/3 of American public) that he would have signed it if Congress had sent it to him and he can show the NRA, a core group of his supporters, that he let it expire. As Sarah Brady, wife of James Brady (of The Brady Bill), said:
The real onus fell on President George W. Bush. He has exerted absolutely no leadership. We have a president and leadership in the House and Senate that simply do not want to face this.

Democrats have done a pretty good job of demonizing Bush on this issue, drawing attention to his apparent inconsistency - promise vs. lack of action. But I don't exactly hear the Democrats clamoring for its renewal either. If they wanted to, they could make this a much bigger issue, let's be honest. But they don't want to get caught up in a fight on one of the three G's (God, guns and gays) that Republicans so effectively use to drive a wedge between voters and the Democratic Party. And after all, 1994 also marked the Dems' loss of Congress to Republicans, perhaps due in part to the passage of the ban.

John Kerry is using the expiration of the ban to roll out his $5 billion crime initiative and seems to be taking a page out of Bush's playbook by associating Bush's willingness to let the ban expire with being soft on terrorism:
Today George Bush made the job of terrorists easier and made the job of America's law enforcement officers harder and that's just plain wrong.
This begs the question if we're playing the terror card now too. On one hand, what's good for the goose... but I thought we were above this.

His speech, while taking advantage of the expiration of the ban, also coincided with the announcement that the National Association of Police Organizations, a coalition of over 2,000 police unions and associations, endorsed Kerry.
George Bush made a choice today. He chose his powerful friends in the gun lobby over the police officers and the families he promised to protect.


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