Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Will There be a New Assault Weapons Ban?

Image by Oleg Volk

There are quite a few folks out there telling us not to worry about an Obama administration taking away our guns. They believe that the economy will be a much higher priority than gun laws and that many Democrats will not support anti gun legislation for fear of reprisal in the voting booth come the next election cycle.

The Dallas Morning News recently published a well written article concerning the increase in firearm sales following the elections. I think reporter Jessica Meyers did a good job on this column, but I disagree with a couple of the Second Amendment scholars she quoted who feel that we have nothing to worry about.

"There is no Democratic proposal to deal with guns, and there is going to be no Democratic proposal to deal with guns," said Scot Powe, a Second Amendment scholar and law professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

"It's fantasy land to believe the Democrats have any interest in the gun-control issue. It would kill them."
I do not know Professor Powe. What I have found indicates that he is a very strong intellectual when it comes to the First Amendment. I'll not make any assumptions about his support of our right to keep and bear arms, but I will take him to task over his declaration that "...the Democrats have any interest in the gun-control issue." here in a bit.

A scholar that I am somewhat familiar with was also quoted in this article:

Even if Mr. Obama advocates an assault-weapons ban, he's not going to push it any time soon, said Dr. Stephen Halbrook, a Second Amendment lawyer who just wrote a book on the right to bear arms.

"It is not the top agenda in the midst of the economic crisis," he said. "It's unreasonable to argue that people need to rush out and get a gun because their supply is going to get cut off."
So, are those of us who believe that an Obama administration and a heavy Democrat Congress will move quickly on gun control issues living in "fantasy land" or being "unreasonable"? I think not.

President Elect Barack Obama has spent his entire adult life opposing our right to keep and bear arms. From his time as a director of the Joyce Foundation, to his time as an elected official, Obama has advocated for the most draconian of gun laws. What is to stop him from using his authority as president to push anti-gun legislation? Is it the idea that gun control legislation might have an effect on the 2010 elections? I think not. Have California legislators suffered for their support of anti gun legislation? How about those who represent Washington DC, New York, New Jersey or Massachusetts? We had a serious contender for president on the GOP who actually signed an Assault Weapon Ban into law, and our front runner on the ticket wanted to criminalize the private transfer of firearms. Obama has no reason to fear gunnies. The NRA endorsed McCain, McCain lost. The NRA produced some outstanding ads supporting McCain and spent lots of money airing those ads in tight race gunny states. McCain still lost.

Why should Obama fear political retaliation from gunnies?

He does not. From his transition platform:

Address Gun Violence in Cities: As president, Barack Obama would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals who shouldn’t have them. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent, as such weapons belong on foreign battlefields and not on our streets.
Joe Biden, our Vice President Elect, sponsored an assault weapons ban as recently as 2007 and has bragged that he wrote the original Assault Weapons Ban.

We have a President and a Vice President who are vehemently anti gun and who see no political repercussions for pushing forward an anti gun agenda. Who is going to stop them? Congress?

Congress belongs to the Democrats. That is just a fact of life. This is the same House that had 67 cosponsors to HR 1022, a supercharged AWB that would ban many common firearms held by citizens today. But you say that we can count on the Republicans to block any AWB that the Dems come up with. All I can say is "maybe", and maybe is just not good enough. Why do I think that? Because the Latest Assault Weapon Ban Legislation was authored by Republicans. Yep, Republicans.

So am I living in fantasy land or being unreasonable for believing that Obama & Co. will move quickly on some very severe gun control legislation? I think not.

Neither does Vin Suprynowicz.

H/T to Peter for the Suprynowicz article.


Anonymous said...

Let's start a pool. I'll bet something will move to the front burner in Congress by the "Ides of March." Any other guesses?

Bob said...

It's a win-win for the Dems. Moving forward on gun control allows them to appease their base, and it doesn't cost a huge amount of money to implement, unlike a universal health program. Oh, and look forward to taxes on ammunition going up in an astronomical way to pay for things. That's only fiscally responsible.

Ride Fast said...

[...] Gun banning majority [...]

I'm afraid we be getting off easy with just an AWB.

Unknown said...

I have a bet with a gun-owning but Obama-voting co-worker about whether there were be an ugly rifle ban in place before 12/31/2009. I think there will be. The loser has to make a $50 contribution to the charity of the choice of the winner. I think there will be such a ban. I hope I lose the bet.