Skip to comments.Echoes of Clinton's gun ban
Posted on 03/04/2011 5:18:02 AM PST by marktwain
Arizona gun-rights activists can rest easy. The possibility that Jared Lee Loughners insane rampage might lead to a successful assault on the Grand Canyon States libertarian gun laws is no where near the realm of possibility. As a matter of fact, the knee-jerk attempts to take advantage of the tragedy, to chip away at the solidly entrenched Arizona gun laws, came and went so quickly that most people hardly noticed.
The smoke from Loughners Glock pistol had barely dissipated when the anti-Second Amendment crowd began seizing the moment to attack Arizonas gun laws, at the same time lamenting the fact that the Bush administration and Republican-controlled Congress allowed President Bill Clintons 1994 gun ban to sunset 10 years later.
The latest assault came from Arizona state Rep. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, and 19 of his fellow Democrats. Farleys bill is not quite as ambitious as Clintons was, since he only wanted to limit magazines for all semi-automatic pistols to 10 rounds.
Clintons bill included the same limit on magazines but also reached out to ban so-called assault weapons, such as Uzis, AR-15s, Bushmasters and others that were so-called, because unlike true assault weapons, the aforementioned rifles and others of that genre were and presently are available to private citizens in semi-automatic mode only. True assault weapons, on the other hand, are select-fire weapons that feature access to a fully automatic mode by flipping a switch.
A bill similar to Farleys was proposed in Congress by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., that not only would ban magazines of more than 10 rounds but also would include those obtained before the law takes effect.
When Clintons ban ended in 2004, manufacturers went back to supplying high-capacity magazines with each pistol purchase, most of those magazines having capacities ranging from 13 to 17 rounds. Furthermore, most gun owners, who purchased pistols during the ban years, purchased high-capacity clips as soon as they became available.
Fortunately, McCarthys bill did not get out of committee and onto the floor for a vote because on the one hand, the House is now in the hands of conservative Republicans. Secondly, it appears that most Democratic members of Congress realize that even bringing the bill to the floor likely would incur the wrath of many of the estimated 100 million gun owners, who would have automatically become criminals, subject to possible arrest for possession, the moment the bill was signed by the president.
Farleys bill in the Arizona House suffered much the same fate too many Republicans, too many gun owners in the state.
But there are other factors working against bills of this type besides conservatives control over legislative bodies, the main one being the number of pro-gun laws, state and federal, that have been enacted since the Clinton bill, plus the Supreme Courts confirmation that the Second Amendment is an individual right.
Clearly, Farleys proposed bill was akin to a bather testing the bath waters temperature with a big toe before doing a full-body dunk, because most people understand that bills that propose some kind of ban on firearms historically have not only proved ineffectual criminals and nut cases continue to do their worst but also have resulted in a boost in firearms purchases.
More Americans became gun owners just prior to Clintons signing of the bill than at any time in the nations history. Furthermore, the National Rifle Association boosted its membership by a couple hundred thousand, and worst of all, Clinton lost both the House and the Senate.
Shortly after Cho Seung-Hui shot and killed 33 Virginia Tech students, during the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history on April 16, 2007, Democrats broached the subject of enacting new gun controls. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid quickly dismissed any thought of introducing a new gun bill. He gave the excuse that the Senate was far too busy, but in reality, Reid had an excellent memory.
1994 was when the new media started to make its presence felt.
My impression is that the AR-15 was not particularly popular prior to the AWB, but now there are probably more ARs in US homes than there are assault rifles in Swiss homes. Forbidden fruit, so to speak. I also believe that the current popularity of the .45 ACP vs. the 9mm round is a direct result of the AWB.
Law of Unintended Consequences. Libs should read about it.
Actually, hi-cap clips were still readily available during the ban, the manufacturers had wisely ramped up production pre-ban so that they had large stockpiles when the ban went into effect. During the last few years of the ban, prices had started going up on some hi-caps but availability never was a big issue.
That is why the gun grabbers in congress are not just trying to ban the manufacture of hi-caps this time, but the sale and transfer as well. They got snookered by the manufacturers last time. However, it seems like this legislation is radioactive to even a majority of democrats. Except for a few gun grabbers like McCarthy, the dems wouldn't touch gun control with a ten foot poll even when they controlled the house and senate.
Many NEW gun owners certainly did so. And those of us who already owned wonder 9's and 40S&Ws may have purchased a few extras in anticipation of future restrictions. The rush didn't start until Obama got elected.
What isn't mentioned is that when the 1994 ban went into effect, many opted for MORE POWERFUL cartridges/calibers and smaller/more concealable weapons, if limited to ten rounds. We saw the renaissance of the 45ACP in not only the classic 1911 frame, but also in more carry-friendly packages. Sub-compacts abound.
Magazine bans or capacity limitations won't stop criminals. Cho used standard sized magazines at VT in his Glock 19 (same gun as Loughner). Had he been limited to 10-rounds per mag, he'd carry three for every two. Not much of an "inconvenience."