The Truth About Gun Control And Partisanship

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Ever since Obama was elected to the White House, conservatives and gun enthusiasts have been screaming about how likely Barak Obama is to take away peoples firearms. People talk of the "Clinton ban" which restricted assault weapons in 1994 and claim another Democrat in the White House is bad news for gun owners.

But is this truthful? Are Democrats more for gun control than Republicans? We examine historical and recent legislation to reveal that a lot of what people are saying is total BS...

Reagan's administration passed more restrictive gun laws than any other administration (including the dubiously-named "Firearm Protection Act of 1986 which banned citizens owning automatic weapons without special permission). And the "Clinton ban" was actually named after Ronald Reagan's press secretary after James Brady was shot by a nutjob.

In 1969, journalist William Safire asked Richard Nixon what he thought about gun control. "Guns are an abomination," Nixon replied. According to Safire, Nixon went on to confess that, "Free from fear of gun owners' retaliation at the polls, he favored making handguns illegal and requiring licenses for hunting rifles."

It was President George Bush, Sr. who banned the import of "assault weapons" in 1989, and promoted the view that Americans should only be allowed to own weapons suitable for "sporting purposes."

It was Governor Ronald Reagan of California who signed the Mulford Act in 1967, "prohibiting the carrying of firearms on one's person or in a vehicle, in any public place or on any public street." The law was aimed at stopping the Black Panthers, but affected all gun owners.

Twenty-four years later, Reagan was still pushing gun control. "I support the Brady Bill," he said in a March 28, 1991 speech, "and I urge the Congress to enact it without further delay."

One of the most aggressive gun control advocates today is Republican mayor Rudolph Giuliani of New York City, whose administration sued 26 gun manufacturers in June 2000, and whose police commissioner, Howard Safir, proposed a nationwide plan for gun licensing, complete with yearly "safety" inspections.

Another Republican, New York State Governor George Pataki, on August 10, 2000, signed into law what The New York Times called "the nation?s strictest gun controls," a radical program mandating trigger locks, background checks at gun shows and "ballistic fingerprinting" of guns sold in the state. It also raised the legal age to buy a handgun to 21 and banned "assault weapons," the sale or possession of which would now be punishable by seven years in prison.

Gun control crusaders argue that the Republicans are simply yielding to grassroots pressure, to gain political advantage. But polls show little evidence of such pressure.

The ominous Assault Weapons Ban that passed in 1994 was a key part of H.R. 3355, The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. Despite some people saying the bill was authored by Joe Biden, they're wrong. The author was Rep. Jack Brooks from Texas. Biden wasn't even a sponsor. Right wing gun enthusiasts claim Democrats are the bad guys, trying to take away their guns, but an examination of the voting record shows nothing of the sort.

In the House of Representatives, the vote was not even close. A "verbal vote" was cast so there is not even a record in the House of who voted for/against. There was not enough opposition to even require more detailed voting processes.

In the Senate, the story is much the same, but the senators' votes are on record, and we can see in no-uncertain terms that the Republicans supported the assault weapons ban just as much as the democrats. Here's how the actual vote went down:

Number of Democrats voting for the AWB: 50/53 (94.3%)
Number of Republicans voting for the AWB: 45/47 (95.7%)

Yes, among Republicans in the Senate, a higher percentage supported the AWB than Democrats!

Richard Shelby (AL), Frank Murkowski, Ted Stevens (AK), JOHN MCCAIN (AZ), Christopher Bond (MO), Conrad Burns (MT), Judd Gregg, Bob Smith (NH), Pete Domenici (NM), Alfonse D'Amato (NY), Duncan Faircloth, Jesse Helms (NC), Don Nickles (OK), Robert Packwood (OR), Arlen Specter (PA), John Chafee (RI), J. Thurmond (SC), Larry Pressler (SD), Kay Hutchison (TX), George Brown, Ben Campbell (CO), William Roth (DE), Connie MAck (FL), Paul Coverdell (GA), Larry Craig, Dirk Kempthorne (ID), Daniel Coats, Richard Lugar (IN), Charles Grassley (IA), Bob Dole, Nancy Kassebaum (KS), Mitch McConnell (KY), William Cohen (ME), Thad Cochran, Trent Lott (MS), Robert Bennett, Orrin Hatch (UT), James Jeffords (VT), John Warner (VA), T. Gorton (WA), Alan Simpson, Malcolm Wallop (WY)

Howell Heflin (AL) Dennis DeConcini (AZ), Dale Bumpers, David Pryor (AR) Barara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein (CA), Max Baucus (MT), J. Exon, J. Kerrey (NE), Richard Bryan, Harry Reid (NV), William Bradley, Frank Lautenberg (NJ), Jef Bingaman (NM), Daniel Moynihan (NY), John Glenn, Howard Metzenbaum (OH), David Boren (OK), Harris Wofford (PA), Claiborne Pell (RI), Ernest Hollings (SC), Tom Daschle (SD), Harlan Matthews, James Sasser (TN), Chris Dodd, Joe Lieberman (CT), Joe Biden (DE), Bob Graham (FL), Sam Nunn (GA), Daniel Akaka, Daniel Inouye (HI), Carol Braun (IL), Thomas Harkin (IA), Wendell Ford (KY), John Breaux, John Johnston (LA), George Mitchell (ME), Barbara Mikulski, Paul Sarbanes (MD), Edward Kennedy, John Kerry (MA), Carl Levin, Don Riegle (MI), Paul Wellstone (MN), Pat Leahy (VT), Charles Robb (VA), Patty Murray (WA), Robert Byrd, John Rockefeller (WV), Herbert Kohl (WI)

Republicans voting against:
David Durenberger (MN),Mark Hatfield (OR)

Democrats voting against:
Paul Simon (IL), Russell Feingold (WI)

Not voting: Byron Dorgan - Democrat (ND)

Isn't calling that "The Clinton Ban" disingenuous?

This comes at the same time another bill is making the rounds in Congress:

H.R. 6257 [110th]: Assault Weapons Ban Reauthorization Act of 2008 which coincedentally is authored by three Republicans and NO Democrats

EDIT.... This just in:
Dear Attorney General Holder:

As strong supporters of the Second Amendment, we were very concern to see your recent remakrs suggesting that the administration will push for the reinstatement of the 1994 ban on "assault weapons" and ammunition magazines.

We believe that this ban was ineffective during the 10 years it was law, and would oppose its reenactment. Crime began falling before the ban was passed in 1994, and continued falling during and after the ban. The last time the murder rate was at its current level was more than forty years ago.

Even the Urban Institute study of the ban's effectiveness mandated by the 103rd Congress found that it could only have a limited effect because "the banned weapons and magazines were never used in more than a modest fraction of all gun murders."

It is hard to believe the ban would be any more effective in controlling crime by well-funded international drug traffickers, who regularly use grenade launchers, anti-tank rockets and other weapons that are not available on the civilian market in the United States.

The gun control community has intentionally misled many Americans into believing that these weapons are fully automatic machine guns. They are not. These firearms fire one shot for every pull of the trigger. Some of the guns that would be banned under proposed bills have been around for more than 70 years, and are often passed down from generation to generation.

Many of our constituents lawfully own and use these firearms and ammunition magazines that would be affected by a new ban. Indeed, these are commonly owned firearms throughout the country. Law-abiding Americans use these guns for all the same reasons they use any other kind of gun - competitive shooting, hunting, and defending their homes and families.

Our constituents also have very real and serious problems that we in Congress urgently need to address. People are worried about keeping their jobs, paying for their families' health care, educating their children, and retiring with the kind of security their parents and grandparents enjoyed. A long and divisive fight over a gun control issue will only distract us from giving these more important issues the attention they deserve.

Again, we would actively oppose any effort to reinstate the 1994 ban, or to pass any similar law. We urge you to abandon this initiative and to focus instead on effective law enforcement strategies to enforce our current laws against violent criminals and drug traffickers.


Mike Ross (D-AR)
Tim Holden (D-PA)
Jerry Costello (D-IL)
Jim Matheson (D-UT)
Sanford Bishop (D-GA)
John Dingell (D-MI)
Marion Berry (D-AR)
Nick Rahall (D-WV)
Gene Green (D-TX)
Chet Edwards (D-TX)
Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX)
Gene Taylor (D-MS)
Bart Stupak (D-MI)
Collin Peterson (D-MN)
John Tanner (D-TN)
Allen Boyd (D-FL)
Dennis Cardoza (D-CA)
Eric Massa (D-NY)
Steve Kagen, MD (D-WI)
Betsy Markey (D-CO)
Paul Hodes (D-NH)
Ron Kind (D-WI)
Peter Welch (D-VT)
Leonard Boswell (D-IA)
Tim Ryan (D-OH)
Walt Minnick (D-ID)
John Boccieri (D-OH)
Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
Tom Perriello (D-VA)
Earl Pomeroy (D-ND)
Ben Chandler (D-KY)
Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Debbie Halvorson (D-IL)
Travis Childers (D-MS)
Tim Walz (D-MN)
Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
Solomon Ortiz (D-TX)
Paul Kanjorski (D-PA)
Rick Boucher (D-VA)
Mike McIntyre (D-NC)
John Murtha (D-PA)
Bart Gordon (D-TN)
Zach Space (D-OH)
Alan Mollohan (D-WV)
Lincoln Davis (D-TN)
Artur Davis (D-AL)
Charlie Melancon (D-LA)
John Barrow (D-GA)
Christopher Carney (D-PA)
Dan Boren (D-OK)
Parker Griffith (D-AL)
Charlie Wilson (D-OH)
Heath Shuler (D-NC)
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD)
Jim Marshall (D-GA)
Jason Altmire (D-PA)
Larry Kissell (D-NC)
John Salazar (D-CO)
Brad Ellsworth (D-IN)
Frank Kratovil (D-MD)
Glenn Nye (D-VA)
Bobby Bright (D-AL)
Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ)
Joe Baca (D-CA)

Source: HR 3355 voting records

Obama makes it quite clear he is not going to "take away peoples' guns."

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tries to stop the Assault Weapons Ban legislation


Is this some place you can just make stuff up to use as a source
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-28 12:11:06
I'm pretty sure I'm the reddit user that this is targeted at.

So I'll expose the partisan dishonesty of this here too. First the author claims the Republicans are pushing it. A whole six Republicans cosponsored a bill last year, but in 2007 66 Democrats cosigned a much more infringing bill. The Democrats also have a new Assault Weapons Ban as of their published agenda. Why is the author being so blatantly misleading?

When I say that Biden wrote the Assault Weapons Ban, I'm just quoting his words. His statement starts around 1:30 in the video here.
Illusions Dispelled
Posted by MLappy on 2009-01-28 12:22:11
1. Biden didn't write the AWB. He has no credits on the bill.

2. We can talk all day about bills that never passed. That is a bullshit argument. You know as well as I, what counts is what get's passed.

The point of this article is to point out BOTH PARTIES are no friend to the gun enthusiast crowd who is against controls. You keep trying to suggest the Democrats are worse, or ignoring the Republican complicity. This story debunks that illusion.

And once again, gun-totin' wingnuts are screaming about how bad it is that Obama has gotten in office... AS IF the President can unilaterally implement gun control. Either you people are stupid, or you're just trying to mislead people. And you continually ignore the rampant support all these bans and controls have had among Republicans. That's the fact of the matter. I'm not saying there aren't Democrats too that are involved, if not spearheading these efforts in some places. I'm merely saying, there's no substantive evidence to indicate that the GOP cares any more about gun rights than the Democrats, and the facts back that up. If the gun lobby wants to be more effective, they need to not alienate a majority in Congress and a majority of the American people by engaging in partisan mud-slinging, strawman arguments and misinformation.
So wrong
Posted by chunky_bacon on 2009-01-28 14:58:03
Biden authored the original AWB - he has no credits because it was taken over by others leaving committee. Fact is the Democrats are anti-gun enough to have made it **part of their party platform**. There are certainly Republicans deserve a beating for their support of crap like the AWB (just as there are a very few dems that deserve accolades for resisting such infringements) but by and large it *is* a partisan issue.

Contrary to MLappy's assertion, legislation that doesn't pass is a great indication of where things stand. There are many who will pile on to a bill once they are sure that it will go in a particular direction - it's just political pragmatism, but the core supporters - the sponsors and drafters are the ones who 'count'.
Posted by MLappy on 2009-01-28 22:14:25
Very weak argument. Biden has no writing credit formally for the AWB. The fact that you keep harping about something like this illustrates the shallow, partisan nature of your argument.

As I said before, the point is, both parties have worked for and against gun control. To suggest one party is primarily behind these things is a lie.
Posted by Pile on 2009-02-02 13:15:20
I remain convinced the main reason why conservative gun enthusiasts make a big deal about democratic (or virtually any regime change anywhere) is in an effort to scare people into buying more guns. The conservatives are the most gullible in terms of believing whatever is told to them (i.e. Fox News) without checking it out themselves. Most of the people screaming "Obama/Biden gonna take away yer gunz!!" are people in the gun industry that know scaring the crap out of weak-minded wingnuts is good for business.

The original assault weapons ban is a good example. It didn't really curtail the sale of assault weapons. All it did was raise their prices for several years. There were more loopholes in that legislation than a prenup written by Anna Nicole Smith's lawyers.
Posted by ez rider on 2009-02-03 21:40:51
Pile, you're right. I bet you all the folks who sell firearms couldn't wait to see Obama elected, giving them the opportunity to stoke the fears of folks who think Obama/Biden will take away their guns, and, voila, you have record gun sales! I'm a gun owner, and I cherish my gun rights. I'm not worried about Obama/Biden taking away any of my fourteen guns.
Oh Really
Posted by Nobama on 2009-02-18 08:51:55
So if the democrats are so pro-gun, why exactly did Obama have reinstating the CLINTON gun ban and making it permanent posted on Remember where this toolbag comes from, IL, one of the worst states in the union when it comes to gun rights.
More dem gun laws
Posted by Peobody on 2009-02-23 16:32:52
You people are in denial thinking it's the Repbulicans not the Dems who are hard pushing very restrictive gun laws.

Take a look at HR 45
Posted by Pile on 2009-02-23 19:55:33
The point is, you partisan idiots, is that both parties are both for and against gun control. Yet most gun enthusiasts naively think it's the democrats who are the main problem. This is a non-partisan issue.
Posted by Pig Benis on 2010-04-17 02:31:52
I was just trying to do some non-partisan research you people are wild in here...politics is all crazyness anyway.
Posted by Buck on 2012-12-30 19:03:39
I call Bull on this article. Just watch how the democrats vote now. The Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi has been writing a gun ban for a year she says!

Democrat controlled Senate and Whitehouse gun ban coming to a country near you. Lets not forget how the Democrats voted on the last gun law in the Supreme Court!
Calling Bull?
Posted by JD on 2013-01-16 08:56:29
If you want to call bull, then try refuting the facts presented with facts from other sources. Making the conversation partisan without backup does not add to the discussion.


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