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FORUMS General Discussions Politics Assault Weapons Ban Likely To Die
TOPIC: Assault Weapons Ban Likely To Die
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After a month of reported congressional movement on gun control, negotiations have apparently hit a snag. Democratic senators have decided to break up proposals into different packages – such as Senator Dianne Feinstein's push for an assault weapons ban – instead of presenting one "Obama gun package". And, unsurprisingly, Republicans and Democrats can't seem to agree on what parts should make up a background check bill.

On the surface, this seems like Washington dysfunction at its worst, especially since the percentage of Americans who want tougher gun control has stayed at its post-Newtown high: a majority still wants a ban on assault weapons, although legislation on that has pretty nearly no chance of passing through Congress. Over 80% of Americans do agree on universal background checks, including a majority of Republicans.

But a deeper look at the numbers suggests that gun rights advocates may be playing a stronger hand than at first glance.

1. Most Americans don't see gun control as the most significant way to prevent mass shootings

Per a Public Religion Research Institute poll, only 25% of Americans believe that stricter gun control laws and enforcement would be the key to preventing massacres. That was second to mental health screenings, at 30%, and just ahead of moral and religious teaching, at 20%.

Even when we expand the issue out to allow for multiple answers, as CBS News did, only 21% think that stricter gun control would prevent gun violence by much. Almost half, 46%, think mental health screening would help a lot, while 36% think armed guards in public places would be most useful.

2. Guns as a whole are not at the forefront of issues for most Americans

Only 4% of Americans listed guns as the most important problem facing the country in the latest CBS News poll. Instead, over 50% chose the economy, jobs or the budget deficit. That matches other recent polling, and the recent focus on the sequestration illustrates this data.

You might say, "Of course, the economy is the No 1 issue for Americans – how could gun control come close?" And I'd agree: if gun control were really at the top of the heap, I'd expect it to be polling higher. During the healthcare debate of 2009-10, for instance, healthcare regularly broke the 20% barrier in polls on the most important issue in the US.

Now, it's possible for Americans to care about more than one issue at once, but it's fairly clear that gun control can get lost in our current mess of unemployment, budget cuts, and a stalling legislature. But gun control tends to be tied with healthcare and immigration as the most important issue, at all of 5%. Right now, healthcare isn't even a national issue so much as a state one, in parts of the country.

Berryville VA
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The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) is putting Guntersville, AL on notice, telling officials to drop the plan to disarm to citizens in the event of a natural disaster or other emergencies or face a lawsuit. Guntersville Mayor Leigh Dollar has put forth such a proposal, saying "It's only to protect people." Her proposal is to be considered by the Guntersville City Council on March 4. Accordinng to SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, "The city of Guntersville has no legal authority to adopt or enforce such an ordinance." He claimed SAF doesn't plan to sit by idly and watch it happen: We recall what happened after Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans police forcefully disarmed peaceful, law-abiding citizens for no good reason until we stepped in with a federal lawsuit and stopped it. Local public officials occasionally need to be reminded that they were elected to serve the public, not rule over constituents or nullify their constitutional rights. What happened in New Orleans can never be allowed to happen again on American soil.

Berryville VA
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Vacp:

Agreed. If those weapons can be retrofitted into a real weapon.... I am Bill gates.

I do believe that when the government makes a claim that they have tested something and proved that it can be converted, like any other scientific discovery, the test results ought to be made public.

1) Our tax dollars paid for said testing. 2) The fact that they are making a claim and taking something from another citizen based upon claims without releasing fact.

Hazle Township PA
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Moron ATF Agent Seizes 30 Toy Guns! Says They can be Converted! Dumb ass

w w w .youtube . com/watch?v=Y2sWiZ8BizI

Berryville VA
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Ridgeway, who is staying underground, offered a number of matter-of-fact observations, all of which seem sound to me. Making background checks more comprehensive, he observed, could help reduce certain illegal sales at weekend gun shows, but might also create an incentive for criminals to rely more heavily on “straw purchasers,” who have clean records. Banning the manufacture and sale of certain military-style semiautomatic rifles and large ammo magazines could have some marginal effect in the future, but would do little to cut crime in the short term because the proposed “bans” would not affect the existing arsenal of millions of such weapons already in private hands. Even eliminating assault weapons altogether wouldn’t have much impact on overall gun homicide rates, the memo stated, because the military-style rifles aren’t used in a large proportion of crimes.

The administration has tried to back away from the Ridgeway paper, calling it an unfinished survey of research that does not represent official policy.

That kind of wishy-washy statement by an unnamed spokesman does very little to address the NRA’s hyperbolic claim that the memo “makes clear” that the White House proposals are precursors to more restrictive legislation requiring registration and confiscation. The NRA specializes in the slippery-slope argument: resist all gun control on the theory that the liberals’ real goal is to take away your firearms. This reasoning has no basis in fact, yet it gains power from the very modesty of the proposals Obama has pushed.

As the memo points out, the president’s agenda amounts to marginal rule-tinkering, which would do very little to affect violent crime rates. (As an aside: Those crime rates are declining for complicated, poorly understood reasons that have nothing to do with gun-control laws.) In a bizarre twist entirely typical of the radioactive gun debate, the NRA wants to block the administration’s relatively tame proposals based on the conspiratorial notion that they must be harbingers of vastly more draconian moves. That the White House says it would never dare to support registration or confiscation only confirms the conspiracy.

The Newtown (Conn.) elementary school massacre reignited the gun-control issue. Whether it will result in any meaningful changes will depend in large part on whether President Obama can convince fellow Democrats facing tough reelection campaigns why it’s worth taking politically costly steps that his own experts concede won’t accomplish much.

Berryville VA
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An online kerfuffle about a surreptitiously obtained Department of Justice memorandum illustrates the rhetorical effectiveness of the National Rifle Association and the complicated, peculiar nature of the gun-control debate.

Earlier this month, the NRA ferreted out an internal Justice memo (PDF) in which a leading Obama administration crime researcher mused about the limited potential effects of the president’s main proposals to “ban” so-called assault weapons and large ammunition magazines and make the existing criminal background check system more comprehensive. (The highlighting in this copy appears to come courtesy of the NRA.)

Refusing to reveal its investigative sources or methods, the NRA posted the memo here. On that website, you can also view an online commercial referring to the document and running in Republican-leaning states where Democrats are defending Senate seats next year. By pressuring those Red State Democrats to back away from supporting the White House, the NRA hopes to scuttle most or all of the administration’s gun-control program.

As the Senate Judiciary Committee moves haltingly toward producing legislation intended to appeal to those same moderate Democrats and at least a few Republicans, the NRA argues in its ad that the Justice memo shows that the administration believes its proposals won’t work unless coupled with national gun registration and even confiscation—more aggressive steps that neither the White House nor congressional Democratic leaders have backed. Indeed, even the most ardent gun-control advocates know that, barring some unforeseen development, registration and confiscation are politically impossible.

The author of the nine-page Jan. 4 memo, a Ph.D. researcher named Greg Ridgeway, serves as the deputy director of the National Institute of Justice, an arm of the Justice Department. In an introduction, he accurately describes the document as “a cursory summary of select initiatives to reduce firearm violence.”

Berryville VA
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At issue is record-keeping. Currently, when a background check is administered for a firearm purchase, the record of the check is destroyed, but the record of the sale is kept, usually by the retailer. Under a bill that expands background checks to include private purchases, the question becomes what to do about the sales record.

Democrats insist the record must be kept. Without it, the purpose of expanding background checks becomes moot, they argued. There would be no way to show or prove that a transaction took place. In addition, it would make a federal trafficking statute toothless, making it impossible to charge someone for the straw purchase of guns on behalf of those prohibited from owning them.

But Republicans negotiating over the background check legislation are wary of creating anything resembling a federal database. As the Washington Post's Greg Sargent reported, the main Republican negotiator on the bill, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), opposes keeping a sales record for purchases that take place over the Internet, (a major method for gun purchasers in remote areas ).

Democrats have offered Coburn several options to circumvent the impasse, aides said. They've proposed having the manufacturer of the gun keep the sales record; having the seller of the gun keep the sales record; or having a retailer do the record-keeping as a third-party observer to the transaction.

"We are not committed of one idea of who should retain a record. We just want to make sure there is a record," said an aide to a lawmaker working on the bill. "We are flexible about who maintains that record. ... But [the record] is the only way that makes the background check requirement enforceable."

Coburn's office declined to comment.

Senate Democrats could, theoretically, work around Coburn in hopes of finding five other Republicans to back the bill. But the other Republican negotiator, Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.) has an F rating from the NRA, and likely wouldn't persuade Republican colleagues to follow his position. A spokesman for Kirk did not return a request for comment about his position on the bill.

"There is real value to having Coburn involved in background check legislation," said Kessler. "It is another A-rated senator, in this case a Republican. He would bring other votes with him. So there is real utility to having Coburn involved. And he has negotiated in good faith so far.

Berryville VA
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WASHINGTON -- In the clearest sign that Democrats are worried about the viability of President Barack Obama's comprehensive gun control package, leading lawmakers signaled on Monday that they will consider the president's gun control agenda in pieces rather than as a whole.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said his committee will take up four gun-related bills in a hearing on Thursday. The bills reflect the core components of the gun violence package proposed last month by the White House. They include a universal background checks bill sponsored by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a school safety bill sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), a new gun trafficking statute sponsored by Leahy, and an assault weapons ban sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

The choice to mark up Feinstein's bill in committee was not easy, according to aides on the Hill. Congressional aides and outside groups carefully watching the legislation said they had anticipated the committee would put together a comprehensive package consisting of the three other legislative components. The committee would then pass that package to the Senate floor for consideration. Once there, lawmakers would consider adding the assault weapons ban as an amendment. Barring the unexpected, it would not muster the 60 votes needed for passage.

By marking up the assault weapons ban in committee, Leahy has chosen a different path. The bill likely has the support needed to pass in the committee. The only Democratic committee member who is a question mark is Leahy himself. But since the assault weapons ban likely doesn't have 60 votes in the Senate at large, Democratic leadership will have to ensure that it doesn't endanger the three other gun control components.

The consensus on how to do that was moving toward "a piecemeal approach," two aides involved in legislative strategy said. "You do them separately," explained one of those aides. "On the floor, maybe you put certain pieces together."

Those pieces, the aide added, would be the federal trafficking statute, mental health legislation and universal background checks.

But even on the less-controversial matter, legislative prospects aren't assured. Lawmakers and activists told The Huffington Post on Monday that negotiations over background check legislation, considered the most likely bill to pass, had stalled.

"I think we hit a snag, there is no doubt about it," said Jim Kessler, a former director of policy and research at Americans for Gun Safety and co-founder of the centrist-Democratic organization Third Way. "I know that there are real differences between the parties on this. But it is definitely too early to throw in the towel. They agree on a lot. And there still may be some way to figure it out."

Berryville VA
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"Robert you know nothing about gangs. They make 1000's a day" LMAO....99% of gang members can't afford to eat at Burger King Methinks Vaca has seen New Jack City ONE too many times

Rosemont IL
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What do costumes have to do with government buying bullets?

Sanford NC
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TOPIC: Assault Weapons Ban Likely To Die