Thursday, January 17, 2013

Taking Sides on Banning Assault Weapons

So where are the lines being drawn on the attempt to stop gun violence? One place is with the attempt to reintroduce the ban on assault weapons. President Obama wants to reintroduce the ban on assault weapons that was first implemented under President Clinton. There was at least one fatal flaw in the ban on assault weapons instituted under President Clinton: gun manufacturers could easily make minor changes to the weapons, call them something else, and continue selling them on the open market. By allowing this practice, the ban on assault weapons was essentially rendered meaningless. Now, President Obama hopes to not only reintroduce the ban on assault weapons, but strengthen it.
The Guardian reports:
Calling for the reinstatement of the federal ban, that was allowed to lapse in 2004, Barack Obama made clear that he would not tolerate the same tactics that permitted the makers of assault rifles to wriggle around the restrictions. A White House paper setting out the proposed changes made the challenge to gun makers explicit.
The 1994-2004 ban, it said, "was an important step, but manufacturers were able to circumvent the prohibition with cosmetic modifications to their weapons. Congress must reinstate and strengthen the prohibition on assault weapons."
But there in lies the rub. Not only do the diehard gun owners want unrestricted access to assault weapons, congress must actually act to keep assault weapons out of the hands of dangerous people. And the House of Representatives in the hands of Republicans has been nothing more than a sinkhole where good ideas go to die.
As long as there are so many people in congress who view any gun legislation as a direct assault on them and an indirect assault on the constitution, then I have my doubts whether any meaningful change will occur.

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