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Assault weapons ban faces expiration

Proponents accuse Bush of resorting to political trickery


Edward Epstein, Chronicle Washington Bureau

Thursday, February 26, 2004







Washington -- Proponents of Sen. Dianne Feinstein's decade-old federal assault weapons ban accused President Bush on Wednesday of using political sleight of hand to break his promise to support their bid to reauthorize the legislation for another 10 years.


As the Senate started debating a bill that would grant gun manufacturers and dealers unprecedented protection against almost all civil lawsuits, the White House issued a statement of policy saying the president didn't want any amendments to the bill, which is a key priority for the National Rifle Association and its allies. Since proponents of the assault weapons ban say their best and perhaps only chance of getting the law renewed is as part of the bill on blocking lawsuits, they cried foul.


"The president is breaking the promise he made during the 2000 campaign to support the assault weapons ban,'' charged one of Feinstein's co-sponsors, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. "This is a flip-flop if there ever was one.''


California's other Democratic senator, Barbara Boxer, said, "I see it as a broken promise that was made to her (Feinstein) and those who have supported her.''


Feinstein was somewhat less confrontational, although she said "this president ... has not to date lifted a hand to help us.''


She said she realized that Bush, normally a staunch ally of the rifle association, faces a tough re-election campaign this year and doesn't want to alienate his supporters by signing a gun control law abhorred by many of them.


"No doubt this is a campaign issue,'' Feinstein said at a Capitol news conference. "The people of America have to send a resounding and clarion call'' that they want the assault weapons bill renewed.


If the bill reaches the Senate floor, the vote is expected to be close.


White House spokesman Ken Lisaius denied that Bush was being deceptive. "The president's position stays the same'' on signing assault weapons legislation, he said, but "the fact is the president says any amendment (to the liability limit bill) that would delay enactment of this bill beyond this year is unacceptable.''


The assault weapons bill, which narrowly passed Congress in 1994, banned the manufacture, sale and distribution of 19 specific types of semiautomatic guns that Feinstein says exist only for the purpose of killing large numbers of people with rapid fire. While Feinstein and Schumer say the ban has been effective in reducing gun violence, opponents say that tougher prison sentences and crackdowns to prevent repeat offenders from getting and using guns have made the difference.


The argument shows the intricacies of gun legislation in Congress, especially in an election year. The bill giving the gun industry liability protection has 55 Senate sponsors, and looks likely to pass in the next few days. The House passed similar legislation last year, 285-140.


In addition to the assault weapons ban, gun control advocates want to attach an amendment in the Senate to close the so-called gun show loophole that allows people to buy guns at such shows without undergoing a background check.


Boxer wants an amendment to bar gun manufacturers and dealers from selling handguns without safety locking devices.


In the House, Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, has vowed that the assault weapons extension will never even come up for a floor vote, so many of the ban's advocates figure the best way to force a vote is to attach it to the liability legislation -- a law the gun lobby badly wants.


"There is no other way for the assault weapons ban to advance before it expires'' on Sept. 13, Schumer said.


Feinstein wasn't as pessimistic. "It will be my intention to put this bill on everything we can,'' she said, meaning she will try to get it passed as an amendment to another bill or on its own.


With a close election likely, the White House doesn't want Feinstein's bill to reach the president's desk, said gun lobby veteran Richard Feldman.


"It would be a mistake of the first order for this assault weapons bill to get to the president, after passing through a Republican Congress, for him to sign it or veto it,'' said Feldman, who represents some of the gunmakers.


The gun liability legislation, which would throw out pending lawsuits against gunmakers or dealers such as those filed by San Francisco and other localities, is needed to save the industry, said Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho.


"These suits were all intended to drive the gun industry out of business, '' he charged.


But Feinstein took to the Senate floor to attack the liability bill, which is opposed by most big-city mayors and police chiefs.


"This legislation gives the gun industry sweeping and unprecedented protection from lawsuits that are available to every other victim of any other industry in America,'' she said.



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From the Associated Press


Senate OKs Handgun Locks Legislation



WASHINGTON (AP) - Democrats who succeeded in adding a handgun safety lock measure to a GOP-championed gunmaker lawsuit immunity bill are trying to drum up support for requiring background checks on gun show sales and for renewing the assault weapons ban.


They will determine this weekend whether they have enough votes to add the amendments to the legislation.


"We are so close," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who started counting votes on the assault weapons ban after handily winning the handgun safety lock vote. "We're within a hair's breath."


But Republicans also will work to keep Democratic amendments off the legislation protecting the gun industry from lawsuits when a legally sold gun is subsequently used in a crime. They say those issues will make it harder to get the bill to President Bush for his signature.


Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, fought off several attempts to add exceptions to the gunmaker immunity bill. He will try to fend off other Democratic attempts Tuesday when the Senate votes on one amendment to close a loophole that allows unlicensed dealers to sell guns at gun shows without doing background checks on the buyers, and on another that would extend the expiring assault weapons ban for 10 years.


Senators also will vote on Republican measures to end the ban on handguns in the District of Columbia and allow qualifed retired and active duty policemen to carry concealed weapons.


Craig and other Republicans, including the Bush administration, have called on senators not to attach amendments to the gunmaker immunity bill that could bog it down.


Gun advocates say firearm manufacturers make legal products and should not have to spend millions of dollars fighting lawsuits stemming from a crime committed with a gun.


A test vote earlier this week garnered 75 votes for the measure, with several Democrats voting for it after the GOP agreed that firearms makers and distributors would not be immune to suits involving defective products or illegal sales.


The GOP-controlled House already has passed the bill. However, Senate changes will require that negotiators from both houses agree to a compromise version. That could take months given the strong feelings on both sides.


Leaders in the GOP-controlled House already have said they do not plan to approve an extension of the assault weapons ban.


Although Democrats say they are close to having enough votes for extended the ban, they may need to pull their two presidential competitors, Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina, off the campaign trail to put them over the top.


"We know it will be close," said Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. "And it would be our hope that both of our presidential candidates could be there, but we understand the conflicts in schedule as well. We'll have to do the best we can with the votes we have, but we know it's going to be close."


Democrats easily won their attempt to add to the bill a measure requiring child safety locks on all handguns sold in the United States.


Boxer and Herb Kohl of Wisconsin argued that requiring safety locks on newly purchased handguns would help reduce the number of children accidentally killed by handguns in the home. Every 48 hours, a child is killed through an accidental shooting, she said.


Kohl said the bill "is not a panacea. It will not prevent every single avoidable firearm-related accident. But the fact is that all parents want to protect their children. This legislation will ensure that people purchase child-safety locks when they buy guns. Those who buy locks are more likely to use them."


The Senate in 1999 passed similar legislation, but the House refused to approve the measure.


Craig argued it would be an intrusion of the federal government into people's private homes.


"For the first time, the long arm of government will reach into the private place and suggest to the average American how they will store an object in that private place," he said.


On the Net:


Information on the bill, S. 1805, can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov



02/27/04 04:50 EST

Edited by LIONHART
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The calls really do make a difference. I am fortunate that my Senators and Congressman are pro-gun but it always helps to let them know that their constituents are looking over their shoulder. This will be a tough fight but a winnable fight. Everyone needs to call - the staffers are counting the votes!!!


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PhilOhio, you have got it exactly right about the liberals being socialists. http://www.machinegunbooks.com/forums/invboard1_1_2/upload/html/emoticons/unsure.gif After all, the Nazis in Germany, under Hitler, were called the National Socialist German Workers Party.Under Hitler, one of the first things the Nazis did was abolish the private ownership of firearms (under the guise of 'crime control' and prevention)! http://www.machinegunbooks.com/forums/invboard1_1_2/upload/html/emoticons/blink.gif Then, the German people were totally under the control of the Nazi hierarchy. Could our own home-grown socialists, have read Hitler's play book? http://www.machinegunbooks.com/forums/invboard1_1_2/upload/html/emoticons/ohmy.gif It seems likely!!! http://www.machinegunbooks.com/forums/invboard1_1_2/upload/html/emoticons/cool.gif Regards, Walter


P.S. We need to stop these bastards!

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i've contacted my senators on how i feel about all this mess...told them i would be voting against them if they didn't support us...you guys watching this stuff real close please let me know what Alexander, Lamar - (R - TN) and Frist, Bill - (R - TN) does........Thanks
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This is the response that I recieved from "I am a liberal gun owner hater" Murray. Patty Murray and other politicians, believe in not telling the whole truth (if any at all) as it reveals their true intentions. Check out this artfull dodge to my e-mail to her:


Dear Senator, Please, do not accept any anti-rights (R.E. Gun

bans,further extensions of the semi-auto ban etc.)amendments to S. 659,

the gun manufacturers' protection act.


Further, I believe that S. 659 is not worth an extension on the Clinton

era semi-auto ban or restrictions on gun shows. Both of these measures

would constitute very egregious violations of Congress' constitutional

authority. I hope that you will do everything in your power to make sure

these amendments do not end up in the bill.


And please,If either of these provisions does make it onto S. 659, I urge

you to vote AGAINST the entire bill. I feel that this subject is very

important to myself and the people of the United States. Thank you kindly

for your support.





Mark knudson




Her reply:



Dear Mr. Knudson:


Thank you for contacting me about gun commerce legislation. I

appreciate hearing from you.


As you know, Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) has introduced S. 659,

the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. The bill requires

the Department of Commerce to maintain a list of businesses and

individuals who notify the Department that they manufacture or

sell firearms, or represent organizations that manufacture or sell

firearms for interstate or foreign commerce. The bill further

protects any person or business, or representative of a person or

business who lawfully engages in interstate or foreign commerce of

firearms from restrictions on commerce. These restrictions include

civil penalties or other limitations ordered by federal, state, or local

courts. H.R. 1036, legislation largely identical to S. 659, was

passed by the House of Representatives and has been referred to

the Senate Judiciary Committee.


I too believe that lawful manufacturers or sellers of firearms should

have the right to participate in legal interstate and foreign

commerce. However, I am concerned about how this bill could

affect legitimate lawsuits against firearms manufacturers and

sellers for their negligent acts. This bill's prohibitions against

restrictions on commerce could provide an untended shield for

firearm manufacturers and sellers that engage in dangerous and

harmful activities.


As a U.S. Senator, I support common sense gun control legislation

that reduces gun violence while providing the least possible

inconvenience to law abiding gun owners. Rest assured, should S.

659 or similar legislation come before the Senate, I will keep your

concerns in mind.


Again, thank you for contacting me. If I can be of service in the

future, please be in touch.






Patty Murray

United States Senator


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mp40, unfortunately, Sen. Murray is one of the most liberal, rabid, anti-gunners around. http://www.machinegunbooks.com/forums/invboard1_1_2/upload/html/emoticons/ohmy.gif I would urge you, without hesitation, to unseat this bitch!!! http://www.machinegunbooks.com/forums/invboard1_1_2/upload/html/emoticons/blink.gif Vote, and vote often!!!!! http://www.machinegunbooks.com/forums/invboard1_1_2/upload/html/emoticons/biggrin.gif http://www.machinegunbooks.com/forums/invboard1_1_2/upload/html/emoticons/cool.gif Regards, Walter
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I agree with you Walter, about Sen.Murray...I can't even stand to watch her speak, with her liberal,emotional dribble. MP40 man, how the hell did that marxist get in there ? http://www.machinegunbooks.com/forums/invboard1_1_2/upload/html/emoticons/ohmy.gif ...I must put Boxer, Feinstein,Schumer,clinton,Kennedy, in the same boat. http://www.machinegunbooks.com/forums/invboard1_1_2/upload/html/emoticons/blink.gif .......God help us.................jw
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I'd be curious to hear your letter and the response from our senators here in Tennessee. Washington has become the arm of the political donors (ie corporations, lawyers) who are working hard to take away our rights one by one, starting with our ability to protect ourselves from THEM, so they can send more of our jobs overseas and take our money and property away from us.


BTW, has anyone read Perfectly Legal by David Cay Johnston? It is a great book about how some of the workings in Washington affect our lives.




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From FOX News


Gun Suit Reform Could Still Be Shot Down


Wednesday, February 25, 2004

By John Lott, Jr. and Grover Nordquist



Since October 1998, 33 cities and the state of New York have brought lawsuits against gun makers and retailers seeking to hold the companies responsible for the misuse of their products. More than 35 major private suits have also been filed since 1998. Funded with millions of dollars from George Soros (search), the Brady Campaign (search) (and its predecessor Handgun Control) has paid for much of the legal costs behind these suits.




The goal has not been to win these legally weak cases but rather, with so many simultaneous suits, to bankrupt these companies through massive legal costs. Unfortunately, despite most of the city suits having been knocked out on pretrial motions, this strategy has had some success. Litigation fears helped discourage venerable companies such as Colt from continuing to produce handguns, and Kmart, along with other retailers, have stopped selling handgun ammunition.




This week, the Senate is poised to pass legislation that will rein in many of those lawsuits against gun makers and retailers, such as those that claim that gun makers should “know and foresee” that crimes will be committed with the guns they sell. The new legislation will of course not end lawsuits against defective products that cause harm or injury. Similarly, a company will still face civil liability in addition to criminal penalties if it has violated state or federal law or sold a gun knowing that it would be used to commit a crime. Even prominent Democrats such as Sen. Diane Feinstein concedes that the bill is going to pass.



Yet, amendments to extend the ban on some semi-automatic guns and to further regulate gun shows face close votes. These amendments threaten to kill the bill in conference committee, yet some senators, including Tom Daschle, are simultaneously promising to vote for the bill but also promising gun control groups that they are "solid" for the gun show and assault weapons amendments.



A recent poll conducted by the Roper Center asked Americans whether "companies that make guns should be held financially liable if judges or juries find that their products were used to commit a crime." Seventy-eight percent disagreed. With such grassroots support, 10 Democratic senators from southern and western states have joined 45 Republican senators in sponsoring the current legislation. But can such senators as Tom Daschle and Harry Reid-- who face re-election this year--really convince voters that they want to stop these lawsuits while, at the same time, they vote for additional gun control amendments that jeopardize the final passage of the bill?



Renewing the "Assault Weapons" Ban


Seven states now ban certain types of semi-automatic guns (search), and there has been a federal ban on certain semi-automatic guns since 1994;Gun control advocates ominously predict that eliminating the ban will result in a surge in police killings or, as Sen. Carl Levin claims, a rise in gun crimes .



Yet, despite the heated rhetoric, there is not a single academic study showing that these bans have reduced violent crime. Even research funded by the Justice Department under the Clinton administration concluded merely that the ban's "impact on gun violence has been uncertain."


The 1994 federal assault weapons ban applied to semi-automatics that fire one bullet per pull of the trigger. Rebuilding semi-automatic weapons into machine guns is very difficult, as completely different firing mechanisms are used. Terms such "military-style" or "assault weapon" describe cosmetic features of the gun, not the way the gun fires bullets.


Ironically, notorious "assault weapons," such as the 223-caliber Bushmaster rifle used in the District of Columbia area sniper killings (search), are not allowed in most states for hunting deer or larger animals because it is such a low-powered rifle, it will too frequently wound rather than kill the deer.


The ban arbitrarily outlaws some guns based upon brand name or cosmetic features-- such as whether a rifle could have a bayonet mount, a pistol grip, a folding stock or a threaded muzzle. Not only could someone buy another not-banned semi-automatic gun that fired the same bullets, at the same rapidity and with the same damage, but even the banned guns can be sold under a different name or after, say, the bayonet mount was removed.


Proponents for keeping the semi-automatic "assault" gun ban (search) argue that 10 of the 50 police officers shot to death annually over the four years from 1998 to 2001 were killed by these guns. But the Violence Policy Center, which put these numbers together, never examined whether the guns used to kill police possessed two or more of the features defining them as "assault weapons." Rather, the guns were counted as assault weapons if it was possible that they had at least two of the banned features.


The stakes for this amendment represent much more than a legislative battle for gun control advocates. Defeat would put their very credibility at risk if it becomes obvious a year from now that their horror stories have not come true.


Gun Show Regulations


Despite the term "gun show loophole," (search) there are no special exemptions for buying a gun at a gun show. Dealers must perform the same background checks as in a store. What gun control groups refer to is the non-regulated private transfers of guns. Eighteen states regulate the private transfers of handguns, with some having regulations going back more than several decades. However, just as with the semi-automatic gun bans, there is not a single academic study showing that these regulations reduce any type of violent crime.


The Bureau of Justice Statistics under Clinton conducted a survey of 18,000 state prison inmates in 1997 -- the largest survey of inmates ever conducted. Less than one percent of inmates (0.7 percent) who had a gun obtained it from a gun show. The vast majority of criminals—40 percent—say they got their guns either from friends or family, and 39 percent from the street or other illegal sources.


Burdening these needed legal reforms with regulations that cause only other problems accomplishes only one goal: the legislation will be defeated and the lawsuits seeking to eliminate guns will proceed.


John Lott Jr., a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of The Bias Against Guns (Regnery 2003).









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Neal Knox has weighed in on the current proceedings in the Senate, and is encouraging calm in the face of the AWB renewal and other anti-gun amendments that will undoubtedly be added to S.1805.




March 1 Neal Knox Update -- The anti-gun crowd?s sole focus right now is

killing S. 1805, the renumbered S. 659 gun industry liability protection



So why on Earth are so many panicky gun rights defenders (or people

claiming to be) doing everything they can to help the enemy?


Yes, S. 1805 is in danger of being loaded up with anti-gun amendments in

the Senate. But anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows that

the Senate is overloaded with anti-gunners and has been for several



The only way to get the bill passed is to get it back to the House, where

it can be cleaned up or killed.


The identical House version, H.R. 1036, passed last April 285-140.


The Senate bill has 55 co-sponsors -- five more than necessary for

passage. Last week the Schumer-Lautenberg, et al, filibuster failed by

75 votes -- fifteen more votes than the two-thirds necessary to bring it

to the floor.


The day the voting started, the White House sent Congress a Statement of

Administration Policy calling for a "clean bill" -- one without

amendments. That's what President Bush has said he will sign -- which

greatly improves the chances of a cleaned Conference Committee bill

getting through the Senate.


Sen. Schumer fumed the Bush position will cost 10 or eleven Republican

votes against his and Dianne Feinstein's amendments. Let's hope he's

right, but I doubt it. Three or four might be enough.


With everything stacked against them, the only way the anti-gunners can

kill the bill is to load it down with a bunch of killer amendments --

causing the gun rights people to do what the anti-gun crowd can't do.

Kill it -- like our Nervous Nellies are already clamoring to do.


Schumer's "useful idiots" -- some of our people -- are in a panic because

Sen. Larry Craig and other pro-gunners signed a "Unanimous Consent

Agreement" allowing a series of anti-gun (and pro-gun) amendments to be

considered without a string of filibusters.


That's the only way the Senate ever can consider a controversial bill --

but many of those screaming about "Unanimous Consent" think it means the

pro-gun side has consented to evil amendments. They haven't.


Sen. Barbara Boxer added an amendment requiring all dealer-sold handguns

to be delivered with a safety lock, as most already are.


The Internet is being flooded with emails from people I never heard of --

forwarded by people who should know better -- demanding that S. 1805 be

killed because it "contains gun control."


Let me assure you: S. 1805 WILL CONTAIN A LOT MORE GUN CONTROL --

probably including the Feinstein "Assault Weapon" ban and the McCain gun

show-killer bill -- before the Senate's final vote.


But I want the Senate to hold their noses and send it back to the House,

warts and all.


The letters going out right now from misled gun owners to their Senators,

telling them to vote against S. 1805, were probably drafted in the

offices of "Americans for Gun Safety" and Handgun Control Inc.


If not, they might as well have been.


As most of you know, I have been personally involved in every Federal gun

rights battle since 1966 -- as founding editor of Gun Week, editor of

Handloader and Rifle, Executive Director of NRA-ILA, legislative

columnist for Guns & Ammo, Shotgun News and other publications, and Vice

President of NRA for three years, until Charlton Heston beat me 38-34.


In short, I've been around this block twice. I have never seen such a

well-orchestrated campaign to kill a pro-gun bill.


Every Senator who voted FOR the Boxer/Schumer/Feinstein /Kennedy

amendments will vote AGAINST the bill. I want to see every Senator who

voted AGAINST those amendments to vote FOR an anti-gun bill, and we

should let them know that we'll never hold that vote against them.


Because that's the only way we can get the bill to the House, where those

amendments can be stripped -- so the United States Arms Industry can

survive, and prices on the guns they produce won't continue to skyrocket.


Am I absolutely certain that every anti-gun amendment can be stripped off

in the House-Senate Conference? Or else knocked off in House votes?


No, I'm not.


But I AM certain that if they aren't WE CAN KILL THE BILL IN THE HOUSE.


And from what I've been personally told, NRA will lead the effort to kill

their own bill if the corruption remains.


Yes, it's dangerous. Passing legislation when the Senate is against us

is always dangerous -- and it's difficult, but with the House and White

House on our side, it's doable.


Let's show a little courage, friends.






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http://www.machinegunbooks.com/forums/invboard1_1_2/upload/html/emoticons/blink.gif Holey crap, I am confused !.....I don't know what to do now. I must be one brain cell away from a monkey........Lionhart, is he telling us to just sit back, and let Kennedy, Feinstein, Lautenberg(walking corpse),Schumer, etc....just add what they want to the bill, and we will be ok????....Do nothing, stop calling our senators/stop emailing them, put my clothes back on, wash the paint off my wretched body, and stop protesting the piling on of these anti-gun amendments to bill s.1805???? http://www.machinegunbooks.com/forums/invboard1_1_2/upload/html/emoticons/huh.gif
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Junglewalk, it is a confusing, at times, and dangerous game (politics)! http://www.machinegunbooks.com/forums/invboard1_1_2/upload/html/emoticons/blink.gif However, it is also a task we pro-Second Amendment/pro-Constitution people dare not shrink from. http://www.machinegunbooks.com/forums/invboard1_1_2/upload/html/emoticons/smile.gif We need to keep our collective eyes on the dirty, slimy politicians, if we truly care. We need to hold their feet to the fire, or we will lose all of our freedoms, starting with the Second Amendment!!! http://www.machinegunbooks.com/forums/invboard1_1_2/upload/html/emoticons/ohmy.gif http://www.machinegunbooks.com/forums/invboard1_1_2/upload/html/emoticons/mad.gif Regards, Walter
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If they are going to add amendments why not


Repeal the Hughs amendment from the Volkmer-McClure act or


Allow Law enforcement agencies to transfer their form 10 guns to form 3 or 4 or whatever form would bless them to be owned by, or transferred to, us commoners.



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I watched some of the senate action on c-spam (span) when I got home from work tonite. Chuckie Shumey got his 15 minutes to distort all the facts and figures. Then RINO (republican in name only) Dewine (Ohio) got up and supported Chuckie. I wanted to puke. Guys, be careful when you vote for these RINO whackos. They are to offer the Feinswine amendment (AW ban) tomorrow morning and then suppose to vote at 11:30 (E.S.T. I assume). So tomorrow is supposed to be the BIG DAY! As I stated a few days ago, I think we need to work this from the House side (Tom DeLay).


Chuckie suggested that Vice President Cheney be available tomorrom in case a tie breaker was need.


Mario Scarpino


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The vote is scheduled for 11:35 am Washington time today. Go to www.congress .gov if you don't already have your senator's phone #'s. I read the amendments to be added. Frist and Kennedy want to regulate and expand the defintition of so called "armor piercing" ammunition among other things. Tell your senators you want S1805 passed CLEAN-no amendments tacked on. For anybody in Tn Frist's # is 202 224 7344 , and Alexander is 202 224 4944.

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