Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 11:27 pm by Darryl
The Federal Assault Weapons Ban passed in 1994 had a ten year sunset clause. In 2004…the ban expired.
A renewal amendment did get a vote in the Senate. Sen. Diane Feinstein introduced Amendment 2637 to Senate Bill 1805. The Bill, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, introduced by Larry Craig essentially protected gun manufacturers from liability for misuse of their products. The Amendment would have provided a 10-year extension for the Federal Assault Weapons ban. The Amendment passed in the Senate 52 to 47. But the entire Bill 1805 was soundly rejected by 8 to 90. Apparently the NRA-sponsored bill with a number of pro-gun-control amendments was untenable to nearly everyone. Even Sen. Feinstein voted against it. Sen. John McCain and Sen. Joseph Lieberman were two of the eight who voted in favor of the bill.
Subsequent attempts at a renewal didn’t even make it that far.
Under Obama, lawmakers have tried to introduce a renewal of the ban with no success. Maybe it is time to try again. Here’s why:
According to police and media reports, the alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, legally purchased a semiautomatic Glock 19 with a high-capacity magazine in November at a gun store in Tucson. Under the assault weapons ban, it was illegal to manufacture or sell new high-capacity magazines, defined as those that hold more than 10 rounds. The magazines used by Loughner had 31 rounds each, according to police.
If Loughner had been using a traditional magazine, “it would have drastically reduced the number of shots he got off before he had to pause, unload and reload — and he could have been stopped,” Daniel Vice, senior attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, tells Salon.
It is only unfortunate that it takes an unspeakable, senseless tragedy like this to get Congresspersons off their asses to pass legislation that is so sensible. Hunters don’t need a semi-automatic with a 31 round capacity. And it seems unlikely that in a realistic situation a semiautomatic Glock with 31 rounds will provide better self defense than one with only 10 rounds. But a Glock with 31 rounds is sure an effective way to commit mass murder.
And this time maybe Congress can just pass the ban and not include a sunset clause.