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Message Subject USA Gun Control Timeline, a social experiment...Post Sandy Hook to Present
Poster Handle milehighmike
Post Content
"Gun control debate: Is an assault weapons ban out of reach?"

[link to news.yahoo.com]

"Vice President Joe Biden announced Thursday that he will recommend new gun control measures to President Barack Obama, which include more comprehensive background checks on gun buyers and limits on the sizes of ammunition magazines. The proposal could lead to the most significant move on guns in 20 years, but one regulation highly coveted by gun control advocates is notably missing: a ban on assault weapons.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton managed to push through a sweeping ban on certain kinds of semi-automatic weapons, dealing a crushing blow to the National Rifle Association and other gun lobbyists and sparking a political backlash that helped Republicans reclaim the House and Senate for the first time in 50 years.

That ban, which expired 10 years later in 2004, is still seen as the gold standard by many gun control advocates, who have been fighting in vain to get it reinstated—with some modifications—for years. Since the horrific Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 first graders dead and sparked a national conversation about the nation's gun violence problem, many advocates think they see their chance.

"It is time to pass an enforceable and effective assault weapons ban," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the leading gun control advocate in the nation, said in a press conference after the shooting. Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill quickly introduced legislation to ban the weapons in late December.

But Biden's omission of the ban from his description of his package of proposals on Thursday suggests an assault weapons ban is out of reach. A lot has changed since 1994—including public opinion,the legal landscape and the political might of the NRA.

"I don't think a ban on assault weapons—which is a ban on some of the most popular rifles in America—is likely to get support," said Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor and Second Amendment expert. "The 1994 ban was widely recognized to be ineffective and to be riddled with loopholes."
 
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