Quotes of the day

What will Democrats do to craft an assault weapons ban that has a better chance of success this time?

A person familiar with the drafting of the bill assures me that it will be more sweeping, in an effort to plug many of the holes that bedeviled the first one. One noteworthy tidbit: The new bill will explicitly name the Bushmaster used in the Newtown shooting as a target…

“This bill would name many more weapons than the original ban did,” the person familiar with drafting tells me. “It would name ones that would be specifically prohibited, including this Bushmaster in Connecticut.”


Bystanders got to Loughner and subdued him only after he emptied one 31-round magazine and was trying to load another. Adam Lanza, the Newtown shooter, chose as his primary weapon a semiautomatic rifle with 30-round magazines. And we don’t even bother to call the 100-rounder that James Holmes is accused of emptying in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater a magazine — it is a drum. How is this not an argument for regulating the number of rounds a gun can fire?…

So what’s the alternative? Bring back the assault weapons ban, and bring it back with some teeth this time. Ban the manufacture, importation, sale, transfer and possession of both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Don’t let people who already have them keep them. Don’t let ones that have already been manufactured stay on the market. I don’t care whether it’s called gun control or a gun ban. I’m for it.

I say all of this as a gun owner. I say it as a conservative who was appointed to the federal bench by a Republican president…

There is just no reason civilians need to own assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Gun enthusiasts can still have their venison chili, shoot for sport and competition, and make a home invader flee for his life without pretending they are a part of the SEAL team that took out Osama bin Laden.


“We have to have a comprehensive way in which to respond to the mass murder of our children that we saw in Connecticut,” Biden told law enforcement officials and members of the Cabinet at the start of the meeting. He and President Obama agree that “even if we can only save one life, we have to take action.”

There’s “no reason” why Congress shouldn’t be able to pass a ban on assault weapons, he said. Referring to the bill he authored in 1994, he added: “Quite frankly, you guys helped me write it,” referring to the leaders of major law enforcement groups at the meeting — including Jon Adler of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Jim Pasco of the Fraternal Order of Police and Walt McNeil of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.


It wasn’t always this way. After the assassinations of leaders like Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. in the late 1960s, the nation enacted sweeping gun-safety laws — and the NRA did not stand in the way.

The NRA was less political in that era and more focused on providing practical assistance to its members, much like AAA does today for automobile owners. But in the 1980s, the group became more militant. Part of this was driven by new leadership, which sought to expand the group’s membership rolls and collect more dues.

But this radicalization was also abetted by those who really were seeking an outright ban on guns.

Now that Heller has ruled out the possibility of anyone ever taking away their weapons, gun owners should be more open to some reasonable limitations. No individual right is absolute, after all. While the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, no one has a right to falsely shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater, nor to traffic in child pornography. Likewise, the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms also comes with limits.


Between the time Congress started signaling that they would create a magazine capacity restriction and the implementation of the law, factories worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week churning out millions of nothing but high-capacity magazines, which were stockpiled by manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers in massive warehouses.

As a result, “high capacity magazines” for most common firearms were freely available throughout the life of the ban. As e-commerce came into early maturity during this time period, many high-capacity magazines were more available than they had been before the ban was signed into law…

The law had another unforeseen result. As companies looked to introduce new models of pistols, they determined that if they were going to be forced to make pistols limited to a magazine capacity of just 10 rounds, it would be advantageous for them to make these new pistols as small as possible for the concealed carry market. The Glock 26 and Kahr K9 were introduced the following year, and were among the first of a new breed of powerful, ultra-concealable handguns known as “subcompacts.” Similar designs from other companies quickly followed.

Objectively, based purely on the numbers, the assault weapons ban increased both the number of and public acceptance of semi-automatic, military-style rifles, and created a new class of powerful, concealable handguns.


“We’re not trying to take away your right to advance the interests of gun owners, hunters, people who want to protect themselves,” Bloomberg told “Nightline” anchor Cynthia McFadden in an interview today. “But that’s not an absolute right to encourage behavior which causes things like Connecticut. In fact, Connecticut is because of some of their actions.”


“The NRA has to come forward with that immediately,” Scarborough said. “They just do. They’re going to fight on assault weapons. But I wonder, Mark Halperin, and I’ve been talking to my Republicans over the past year, warning them of the loss that came in November. I wonder how many swing voters in the suburbs of Philadelphia think you should be able to get an assault weapon online. I wonder how many swing voters in the I-4 corridor of Florida think you should be able to get assault weapons online. I wonder how many swing voters in Columbus, Ohio, think you should be able to get an assault weapon online. That answer — this is a 90/10 proposition, what I always say in Congress — 90 percent for, 10 percent against. The Republican Party better understand, they’d better understand — I’m telling them the same thing I told them throughout the year — this is going to put them in a horrific position moving forward if they stand in the way of these common-sense reforms.”


“These moments appear bad for the NRA, and they sort of run and hide as if they know that these moments appear bad. But NRA membership booms in these moments, gun sales boom in these moments,” Touré added. “So, in a perverse way – they would never admit this publicly – these moments are actually good for them.”

“How do we expect them to really not want these moments,” Touré asked.