How Bush Neutralized the Gun Issue as Part of His Winning Strategy
In his successful bid for re-election, President Bush executed a winning strategy of appealing to his base supporters by taking stands on issues that appealed to culturally conservative voters. From abortion to stem cell research to gay marriage, he took positions that had significant support among his base in a successful bid to increase their turnout from 2000.
But what about guns? In stark contrast to his overall strategy, on the gun issue President Bush avoided being identified with the views of NRA partisans and instead made an appeal to the middle of the political spectrum. By the third debate, President Bush was disavowing the NRA’s agenda. When host Bob Schieffer asked why Bush had not pushed Congress to renew the Assault Weapons Ban, the President said:
“Actually, I made my intentions – made my views clear. I did think we ought to extend the assault weapons ban . . . I believe in background checks at gun shows or anywhere to make sure that guns don’t get in the hands of people that shouldn’t have them.”
These are two top priorities of the gun control movement and are opposed by the NRA. Why did the President do this? Because he concluded that opposition to sensible gun laws was, on balance, politically damaging. Given the choice of embracing the NRA’s agenda, or supporting popular gun control measures, he chose the latter. President Bush and his campaign advisors felt a need to move to the middle on guns. Given the overwhelming popular support of Americans for sensible gun laws, this is not surprising.
President Bush’s second term gives him another opportunity to keep his campaign promises by leading the fight to reinstate the assault weapons ban and close the gun show loophole. The American people heard his assurances of support for sensible gun laws and relied on them when voting. Now is the time for President Bush to show the leadership necessary to pass these much-needed public safety measures.
Michael D. Barnes, President
The Assault Weapons Ban has temporarily expired. So for now, these banned guns — including Uzis, AK-47s, and TEC-9s — will be back in our neighborhoods, courtesy of President Bush.
click here to sign our petition
to renew the Assault Weapons Ban
if the ban expires…
› In most states, 18-year-olds will be able to walk into gun stores and buy new American-made AK-47s.
› In many states, it will be possible to bring concealed TEC-9 assault pistols, loaded with thirty rounds of ammunition, into bars, churches and sports arenas, and even public schools or universities.
› In many states kids as young as 13 will be able to buy brand new American-made AK-47s at gun shows and through the classifieds.
› New assault weapons will be advertised over the internet.
› New rapid-fire ammunition magazines that allow guns to fire up to 100 rounds without reloading will be mass-produced and sold on a cash-and-carry basis to anyone, with no questions or background checks
Five Assault Weapons
that will be legal on Sept. 14th
(Unless the Assault Weapons Ban is renewed.)
1. Colt AR-15
Manufactured by Colt Industries of Hartford, CT. It’s the civilian version of the company’s M-16 machine gun used by the U.S. military and some law enforcement agencies. A gas-operated, magazine-fed weapon, it’s still general-issue in the armed forces, which adopted it because of its ability to spray a high volume of ammunition within a distance of 100 meters. It is 39 inches long and comes with a 5-round magazine but can accept higher-capacity magazines.
Crimes and murders:
Sept. 25, 1982: 13 people killed in Wilkes-Barre, PA, by man using an AR-15.
July 1988: Man kills police officer in Manassas, VA using AR-15
October 13, 1992: seven-year-old boy on his way to school fatally shot by a sniper with an AR-15 in the Cabrini-Green housing project in Chicago.
Oct 30, 1993: 9-year-old girl died in El Cajon, CA when a man with an AR-15 began firing from his second-story window
The Kalashnikov rifle, also known generally as the AK-47, was developed in the Soviet Union in 1947. Semi-automatic versions of a Chinese model were imported in large numbers into the United States until 1989. These Chinese versions were produced by POLY Technologies and distributed in the United States by PTK International, Inc. The weapon is 34 3/8 inches long, and can accept 20-, 30-, 40- and 75-round magazines. Before the assault weapons ban was put in place, AK-47’s could be purchased for as little as $300.
Crimes and murders:
Jan. 18, 1989: Patrick West kills five children and wounds 30 others at a school in Stockton, CA
May 10, 1989: Man in Boston hijacks small airplane and fires an AK-47 at people below while flying around the city
Sept. 14, 1989: Former employee kills seven, wounds 13 at printing plant in Louisville, KY
Jan. 30, 1992: Sheriff and deputy shot by man with AK-47 in Clay City, KY.
December 16, 1992: Simon’s Rock College student sprays campus with an AK-47, killing two and wounding four in Great Barrington, Mass.
Jan. 25, 1993: Five CIA employees shot with an AK-47 at headquarters in Langley, VA
September 1993: Police in Hartford impose a curfew because of gang violence involving AK-47’s and other semiautomatic weapons that has led to dozens of shootings and three deaths
December 1993: Man carrying an AK-47 murdered a police officer in a Washington, D.C. housing project.
June 21, 1994: Gunman kills four and wounds 23 at Air Force hospital in Spokane, WA.
Aug. 31, 1994: Man using AK-47 kills a stagehand at NBC studios in New York City.
May 19, 1995: used to kill three people in Pittsburg, CA.
Manufactured by Israeli Military Industries, the 9mm UZI was designed in the early 1950s by Army Major Uziel Gal. In 1979, a semi-automatic version was first imported to the United States for civilian sale by Action Arms of Philadelphia. The UZI semi-auto carbine has an overall length of 24.4 inches with its stock folded, 31.5 with the stock open and comes with a standard 25-round magazine. In 1984, the company introduced the UZI pistol, which has an overall length of 9.45 inches. In 1987, Israeli Military Industries introduced the Mini-UZI carbine, which with its stock folded has an overall length of 26.1 inches, 35.75 with the stock unfolded.
Crimes and murders:
Aug. 10, 1989: Police arrest man carrying an Uzi after he sprays a lower Manhattan street with gunfire, injuring a 69-year-old man
June 26, 1989: One man killed and three wounded in a shootout in the Bronx involving an Uzi and another submachine gun.
Feb. 11, 1991: 20-year-old man killed at party by man carrying Uzi in New York City
April 29, 1991: Police officer shot in face by Uzi-carrying robbers in Jersey City
October 11, 1992: Uzi-carrying postal clerk seeking revenge for being fired kills four people in Ridgewood, NJ.
Nov. 19, 1992: Ex-police officer shot to death by Uzi fire in a robbery in an electronics store in Manhattan
May 25, 1993: In a gun battle between rival gangs in Teaneck, NJ, three were killed and two were wounded. Police recovered an Uzi from the crime.
Sept 17, 1993: Police arrest a recently paroled killer with a loaded Uzi in Pennsauken, NJ
Nov 14, 1994: used in a shootout that killed a police officer in San Francisco
July 1984: Man kills 21 and wounds 19 using an Uzi at a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, CA.
4. MAC-10, MAC-11
Semiautomatic assault pistol designed as a variant of submachine gun. Developed in 1969 by Gordon Ingram of the Military Armament Company (MAC) in Powder Springs, Georgia. The MAC-10 is a recoil-operated gun, compact and capable of delivering a high rate of fire. However its light weight gives it marginal accuracy and a short effective range. Used by military in building sweeps and inside-vehicle operations — the Israeli army uses this weapon in Aircraft hijack rescues.
Crimes and murders:
April 28, 1983: A paid hit man kills two witnesses in a federal narcotics case using a MAC-11
June 1984: Radio talk-show host killed by right-wing extremists using a MAC-10 in Denver, Colorado.
August 26, 1985: Hired hit men murder a man in suburban Atlanta using a MAC-11.
1988: Jewel thieves fire 31 rounds into a police car while being pursued after a robbery in Boca Raton, Fla.
Jan. 2, 1990: MAC-10 used in an attempted drive-by assassination of the Camden, N.J. county prosecutor
June 13, 1990: MAC-10 used by bank robbers in New York City. Bank guard wounded.
October 1992: MAC-10 used by bank robbers in Sykesville, MD to kill two bank tellers.
Oct. 21, 1993: MAC-10 used in a drive-by shooting to kill a 47-year-old man in Queens, NY.
March 30, 1994: Houston police officer seriously wounded by a criminal armed with a Mac-11
April 26, 1995: Maryland police officer shot to death with a MAC-11 assault pistol in a liquor store parking lot.
5. TEC-9, TEC-DC9
The Tec-9 and its variants differ from conventional handguns because its large-capacity detachable magazine helps provide a level of firepower “associated with military or police, not civilian, shooting requirements,” according to firearms expert Leonard J. Supenski. The weapon is “completely useless” for hunting, is never used by competitive or recreational shooters and “has no legitimate sporting use,” he says.
Crimes and murders:
July 2, 1993: TEC-DC9 used by Gian Luigi Ferri to kill 8 and wound six in a workplace shooting in San Francisco
April 25, 1994: TEC-9 used to fire at police officers in Brooklyn when an undercover drug deal went awry.
June 15, 1994: TEC-9 used by man to shoot his ex-girlfriend in Buffalo, NY
Nov. 22, 1994: a man with a TEC-9 killed 3 law enforcement officers at Washington, D.C. police headquarters.