Monday, September 13, 2004

Bush's Deafening Silence


Bush's Deafening Silence

In 1999, then-Gov. George W. Bush supported the ban on assault weapons,
saying " it makes no sense for assault weapons to be around our society
( ."
In 2003, then-White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said that Bush
not only "supports the reauthorization of the current assault weapons
ban" but would "work with Congress" to make sure it remained the law. But
during his presidency, "Mr. Bush has never once demanded that his
G.O.P. leaders cease playing first responder to the demands of the gun
lobby ( and take the
initiative" to extend the assault weapons ban. When the clock strikes
midnight tonight, military assault weapons will -- once again -- be
freely available across the country. (For more Bush flip-flops check out
President Bush: Flip-Flopper in Chief

NO SURPRISE TO THE NRA: In 2000, NRA First Vice President Kayne
Robinson said that if George Bush was elected "we'll have... a president where
we work out of their office
" and that the NRA had "unbelievably friendly relations" with Bush. The
Los Angeles Times describes the expiration of the ban as "a trophy Bush
can lay at the NRA's feet as the group readies its presidential
endorsement." Pressure from the NRA also caused Sen. Norm Coleman -- who
supported extending the ban during his 2002 campaign -- to switch his
position ( .

2002 report by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, assault
weapons " pose an enhanced threat to law enforcement
( , in part
because of their ability to expel projectiles at velocities that are capable
of penetrating the type of soft body armor typically worn by the law
enforcement officers." Last week, scores of law enforcement personnel
from around the country -- including police chiefs from Washington, D.C.,
Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Seattle
( --
assembled at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial "to demand that
President Bush and Congress reauthorize the federal assault weapons ban
before it expires."

GUN MANUFACTURERS READY: Gun manufactures have already been " taking
orders for semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines
( "
that will become legal tonight at midnight. The gun manufacturer Beretta
"has been offering customers two free 15-round magazines after Sept. 14
with the purchase of two of its weapons." Current law "restricts the
capacity of ammunition magazines to 10 rounds." Armalite Inc. is
"allowing customers to order banned assault weapons now and have them shipped
once the ban is lifted." Israel Military Industries Ltd. is expected to
reintroduce Uzis to the U.S. market. Robert A. Ricker, a former
executive director of the American Shooting Sports Council, predicted "an
incredible buying frenzy."

BROAD SUPPORT FOR EXTENDING THE BAN: A recent poll by the Annenberg
Public Policy Center showed that 68 percent of Americans support the ban
. Support for the ban extends to all demographics: 61 percent of
Republicans, 61 percent of people who live in rural areas and 62 percent of
conservatives. Among people who have a gun in their home, a solid
majority -- 57 percent -- support extending the ban.

BOON FOR TERRORISTS: The impact of the expiration of the assault
weapons ban may be broader than you think: newly legal assault weapons could
find their way into the hands of al Qaeda terrorists. An al Qaeda
training manual recovered in Afghanistan urged terrorists " to come to
America and buy assault weapons