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Feinstein, Democratic Party Get Head Start on Gun Ban Anniversary

Friday, September 7, 2012

A week from today marks the eight-year anniversary of the expiration of the federal "assault weapon" and "large" ammunition magazine ban of 1994-2004. While gun owners have been preparing to celebrate by going to three-gun competitions, doing some recreational target practice, taking carbine classes, or zeroing their ARs to get ready for hunting season, their detractors have been busy too.

At its national convention this week, the Democratic Party adopted a platform calling for renewal of the ban, as it has every four years since the ban expired. Meanwhile, the author of the 1994 ban, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), promised to introduce the legislation next year. How such legislation would fare in Washington will depend, of course, on who wins the presidential election. Gov. Mitt Romney unequivocally opposes the ban; President Obama not only supports it now, but voted for even more restrictive legislation as an Illinois state senator.

In remaining committed to the ban, Obama and Feinstein prove themselves to be ideologues in the severest sense, blind to the truth and filled with disdain for Americans whose values they don't share.

If they were to think rationally, they would face the fact that, as the congressionally-mandated studyof the ban verified, the ban affected firearms and magazines used only rarely in crime. They would face the fact that the ban made it a crime to install things like flash suppressors and bayonet mounts on various semi-automatic firearms--things of no concern to a criminal. They would realize that the Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment protects the right to own handguns and other commonly-owned firearms, and that semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns, and handguns that use magazines that hold more than 10 rounds are about as common as you get.

They would also realize that imposing the ban only made things worse for gun control supporters. Along with the Brady bill, the ban so displeased gun owning voters that they turned out heavily on Election Day 1994, defeating dozens of gun control supporters in Congress. They would also realize the ban's prohibition on manufacturing magazines holding more than 10 rounds (for any firearm) inspired the invention of subcompact handguns just large enough to hold 10 rounds--the very type of firearm that gun control supporters have always tried to ban as so-called "Saturday Night Specials."

To top it off, the ban caused purchases of the affected guns and magazines to skyrocket. Today, there are more than 3 million AR-15s alone, sales of new semi-automatic handguns (most of which use magazines that hold more than 10 rounds) have soared, and the number of such magazines privately owned is surely in the hundreds of millions.

We don't know what gun ban supporters like Sen. Feinstein expect to gain by clamoring for a new ban with the election just around the corner. But if they want motivate more Americans to vote for Gov. Romney and other candidates who support the right to keep and bear arms, we say "have at it."

For more information on the "assault weapon" and "large" magazine issue, visit



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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.