Legislation is working its way through congress even as the public focus on gun violence is waning. Many of the recommendations in the legislation have broad public support and have the potential for tremendous advantage and minimal consequences. So what exactly has a chance at passing?
(...) The new legislation would limit magazine sizes, expand background checks to include all sales at gun shows and private transactions, do more to keep guns from the mentally ill, and cut down on sales in states with weaker gun laws to buyers in states with stricter laws. (...) and the legislation could be amended to add provisions such as a ban on certain assault weapons.
I am in firm agreement with all these measures. It seems like the least we could do as a nation to try to limit the violence and death made capable by such killing machines. But despite my personal feelings, before any legislation can make any difference, it has to pass the House, Senate, and be signed into law by the President of the United States. I don't think any legislation has a chance if it contains an assault weapons ban. It also seems like an assault weapons ban would be the least effective in actually making a difference in the volume of gun violence we face as a nation. Because of these reasons, I have no particular love for the assault weapons ban.
Now, the reason that I think the assault weapons ban should be in the legislation is because it gives some wiggle room when it comes to negotiations. The NRA is going to scream that their members are being abused regardless of what type of legislation is put forward. The assault weapons ban gives them something to focus on, something that can be negotiated away to achieve bipartisan support and still leave meaningful reform available for the American people. So by all means, let's get the assault weapons ban added to the bill. Let's push for everything that will help while still being prepared to loose the parts of the bill that will help the least.