September 20, 2004


Say Uncle feels a big push has begun to reinstate an "assault weapons" ban. He also thinks that the House is our only chance of stopping it.

Here's what I think our situation is:

Kerry wants to use the AWB sunset as a talking point against Bush. Bush wants to avid the issue altogether as he looks bad to gun owners for supporting the ban & bad to the gun control lobby for not doing anything to renew the ban. Obviously the gun control lobby wants their favorite stepping stone put back into place while politically aware gun owners understand the dangers of such prohibitions.

Now the press will help the gun control lobby any way they can. There are several reasons for this: it's an emotional issue & will sell newspapers; the mainstream press tends to favor firearms prohibitions in general; in pushing for a new "assault weapons" ban they get a chance to hurt Bush (personally I still think the press is pissed because Bush doesn't hang on their every word); & the press generally like to regard itself as the last defender of freedom (an armed populace still needs free speech & a free press, but doesn't rely on them exclusively to defend their Rights).

The situation in congress is not great for us. The bottom line is damned near any gun control measure will pass the Senate & the House. There's a pro gun control majority in the senate & in the House they're only about 10 short with a nice sized pool of Representatives that could easily be swayed.

So if it comes to a vote on the floor of either house then it will pass. If both bodies of congress vote on it then it will become law (as Bush thinks veto is an italian kid from down the street).

All is not lost however. It can be stopped by certain procedural moves including a fillibuster. I think the leadership in both republican controlled houses understand the damage a new gun control law will have on their party this November. I think Bush realizes this as well. Politically aware gun owners comprise enough of the republican base that they simply cannot afford to piss us off this year.

Of course I could be wrong in thinking they have enough sense not to push their luck with an already disgrunteled base for the chance of shifting the elusive (to them) soccer mom vote. I guarantee they'd risk it if it weren't for the internet.

So I think Say Uncle is right in that there'll be a push for another "assault weapons" ban before November. The gun control lobby along with the press will try to bring it up as an issue in the elections. & of course stories will abound where a senseless homocide(s) was because of the availibility of the dreaded "assault weapon".

I disagree that the House is our last hope. The House is not our friend in this. Despite the "R" beside the name there are a lot of republicans who want stricter gun control. & we stand as good a chance at stopping something like this in the Senate. Not through a vote, but through using procedural tactics to keep it from being voted on. Time is short & I'd be surprised if the anti gun lobby could get it pushed through, especially if we can convince 40 Senators to make a stand.

This is not to say we shouldn't keep an eye on things. In fact we should watch Congress real close as they're about as trustworthy as teen aged boys with whiskey & car keys. I retract that - Congress is less trustworthy.

But the time I see as being most likely for a big push for another "assault weapons" ban is after November but before January. Consider anything that happens between now & November as a warm up to the real effort they'll launch after the elections.

By all means though, keep watching them. Eternal vigilence is the price of liberty & we have to catch up on too many missed payments I'm afraid.

Posted by Publicola at September 20, 2004 03:57 AM

I disagree.

First, there simply isn't enough time left. They may be able to attach something in the senate to a spending bill, but it would need to be germane. Its simply not going to happen in the house (no committee chair will allow it - Delay keeps em in order). What ever the Seante manages to attach though, will be quickly stripped out in Conference because, again, the House won't allow it through.

Second, Kerry doesn't want it. He gets much better coverage with it expired. If it passed, he doesn't pick up any votes (anyone who votes on the issue is already in his column) and isntead looses some soccer moms to Bush plus, more importantly, the ability to make it an issue everyday in the press.

Bush doesn't want it, for all the reasons you already know about.

Now, however, there is one scenario I image it might pass in. When Sen. Craig introduces his rider to the DC Appropriations bill undoing the DC Gun ban I would not be surprised if the AWB was attached. Generally, I think that would be a great event, because the Craig rider will pass the Senate along with the AWB, and in the Republican Controlled Conference (no Ds allowed, thanks!!!) it would be stripped out of the final bill to be voted on. Ds will then be left with a choice of voting to pass a DC Approp bill that eliminates the gun ban or waffling on a bill they already voted for. They could filibuster it, but that would leave the District without any many, expose many to charges of waffling, and when the Rs called for a vote on Cloture, the Ds would have to fly Kerry and Edwards into town to effectivly vote to BAN ALL GUNS (ie: DC Gun Ban), not something Kerry wants to do at all.

Id say, if the Rs play it right, we are pretty close to a checkmate here, but as always, things can change fast. . .

Posted by: countertop at September 20, 2004 07:43 AM

I agree that there's a threat.

But I don't think much of one. About the only thing that could lose the election for Bush now *would* be another "A"WB, or worse, one that expanded on the last one.

The Democrats have learned that they have to hide their gun-banning impulses. I still believe it played a major factor in Bush 41's defeat. It certainly kicked the Democrats hard in '94, 98, and is what killed Gore in '00.

The RNC won't want the boat rocked - that could swing way too many local, state, and House and Senate races. Either gun owners would vote against, or more likely, stay home.

Nah, the DNC is scared of doing something like this - notice even Kerry didn't sponsor a bill, so only very very very safe House and Senate seats will talk about it (Feinstein, for instance). The RNC .. well, it would be suicidal, so I won't put it past 'em.

Posted by: Addison at September 20, 2004 09:35 PM

I think it is going to rear it's ugly head again. I am with pub on this, there will be some trial balloons between now and Nov. Between Nov. and Jan. it is going to be a really hot item especially if the Dems loose big. They will want to get it done while they still have the votes.

Posted by: Gunscribe at September 20, 2004 09:55 PM

I agree there is a threat but not as soon as you guys seem to think. They want the election first and foremost. they want seats in the Senate and House secondly. in any way that the gun issue would hurt them accomplish those two goals, i think they will defer their desires to ban guns till they are stronger. there is not really much one can do to predict what some of the loonier members will do, they may tack on an amendment but it will just probably kill the host bill. Most of all they fear a veto proof majority. Secondly they hate W. (so maybe I inverted there but you get my point). I think abortion and other issues will trump the desire to go after guns (for now). we must always be vigilent, but I dont think they can win on another ban that soon.

Posted by: dogfish at September 21, 2004 03:00 PM
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