Tag Archives: BILL CLINTON

Bill Clinton Touts Failed Gun Ban With Bogus Info

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Bill and Hillary Clinton just don’t draw like they used to. READ MORE

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SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Shunned by much of his own party, (described by one Vanity Fair commentator as “2020’s bubonic plague”) the former president has been relegated to providing lazy commentary on the issues of the day. Such was the case this week when the would-be first gentleman penned an op-ed touting one of his presidential administration’s abject policy failures, the so-called “assault weapons” ban.

Enacted in 1994 as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, the Clinton semi-auto ban prohibited several models of semi-automatic firearms by name and prohibited other commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms based on certain cosmetic characteristics. The measure also banned standard capacity magazines that could hold more than 10 rounds. The legislation contained a 10-year sunset provision and required the Department of Justice to study the efficacy of the ban. The ban was not renewed in 2004.

The ban was allowed to lapse because in infringed on the constitutional right of law-abiding Americans, and, more simply, it didn’t work. The primary focus of the ban was the prohibition on certain configurations of semi-automatic rifles. Rifles of any description are rarely used in crime. FBI Uniform Crime Reporting data shows that in 2017 there were nearly four times as many individuals listed as killed with “knives or cutting instruments,” than with any type of rifle. Rifles were also listed as being used in less homicides than “blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc.)” or “personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.).

A pair of DOJ studies on the ban found the ban ineffective precisely because the banned firearms were rarely used in crime. A 1997 DOJ study explained that “At best, the assault weapons ban can have only a limited effect on total gun murders, because the banned weapons and magazines were never involved in more than a modest fraction of all gun murders.” A 2004 DOJ study reiterated this point, noting “AWs [assault weapons] and LCMs [large capacity magazines] were used in only a minority of gun crimes prior to the 1994 federal ban” and that “relatively few attacks involve more than 10 shots fired.” The study went on to determine, “the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

In his commentary, a strident Clinton proclaimed that his gun ban ameliorated mass shootings. Regarding such shootings, the 1997 DOJ study explained,

We were unable to detect any reduction to date in two types of gun murders that are thought to be closely associated with assault weapons, those with multiple victims in a single incident and those producing multiple bullet wounds per victim.

The 2004 DOJ study found, “it is not clear how often the outcomes of gun attacks depend on the ability to fire more than 10 shots (the current limit on magazine capacity) without reloading.”

In promoting further gun controls, Clinton pointed to a wide-ranging 2018 RAND Corporation study of the firearms issue. The former president must not have bothered to read what RAND had to say about so-called “assault weapons” bans. After surveying the available research on the topic, RAND researchers noted, “We found no qualifying studies showing that bans on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines decreased any of the eight outcomes we investigated” The outcomes the researchers investigated included “violent crime” and “mass shootings.”

Prodding lawmakers to reenact his failed policy, Clinton wrote,

The gun lobby often invokes the Democratic losses in the 1994 midterm elections after passing the assault-weapons ban and the Brady background-check bill to try to scare lawmakers of both parties into maintaining the status quo.

Clinton went on to assure lawmakers that “it’s a different world now.”

First, it is not just gun rights supporters that point to the 1994 midterm elections. Clinton himself has repeatedly acknowledged the devastating toll pro-gun activism and the Clinton gun ban exacted on Democratic incumbents.

Recalling the 1994 election in his autobiography “My Life,” Clinton explained,

On November 8, we got the living daylights beat out of us, losing eight Senate races and fifty-four House seats, the largest defeat for our party since 1946…. The NRA had a great night. They beat both Speaker Tom Foley and Jack Brooks, two of the ablest members of Congress, who had warned me this would happen. Foley was the first Speaker to be defeated in more than a century. Jack Brooks had supported the NRA for years and had led the fight against the assault weapons ban in the House, but as chairman of the Judiciary Committee he had voted for the overall crime bill even after the ban was put into it. The NRA was an unforgiving master: one strike and you`re out. The gun lobby claimed to have defeated nineteen of the twenty-four members on its hit list. They did at least that much damage….

Hillary Clinton reiterated this point in her 2017 book, “What Happened.” Hillary wrote,

In the 1990s, my husband fought hard to pass both a ten-year ban on assault weapons and the Brady Bill, which, for the first time, required background checks on many gun purchases at federally licensed firearms dealers… The NRA funded an intense backlash to the new safety measures and helped defeat a lot of Democratic members of Congress in the disastrous 1994 midterm elections. Then, in 2000, the NRA helped beat Al Gore.

Second, Clinton is correct that it is “a different world now,” just not in the way he thinks. Banning commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms has become less popular over the last 25 years. A March 1993 Gallup poll found that 66 percent of respondents supported an “assault gun” ban. When asked in a October 2018 Gallup poll about an “assault rifle” ban, 57 percent of respondents opposed the measure and only 40 percent supported it.

Aside from a general recognition of the failure of the Clinton’s ban, it is easy to see why public opinion has shifted on this issue. There are now well over 16 million commonly-owned semi-automatic rifles possessed by Americans. Since the end of the Clinton gun ban, the AR-15 has become the most popular rifle in the country. Further, Americans now own hundreds of millions of magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds. As ignorance about these firearms and magazines has receded, so too has the unfounded prejudice against them.

For a whole host of reasons, much of the Democratic Party has chosen to move on from Bill Clinton. The party would be wise to move past his stale and ineffective gun policies as well.

Joe Biden’s “Education” Plan Aims to “Defeat” the NRA, Reprise Failed Gun Control Law

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Looks like Creepy Uncle Joe wants to retry the “Assault Weapons Ban” that failed under Bill Clinton and Big Brother both. READ MORE

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SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Last week the campaign website for presidential hopeful Joe Biden published what it called an “Education … Plan for Educators, Students, and Our Future.” Among its agenda items was to “[d]efeat the National Rifle Association” by “championing legislation to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines — bans [Biden] authored in 1994.” In other words, Biden would reprise a law that was widely recognized (including among gun control advocates) as a failure and the cause of his party losing control of Congress in 1994.

Halfway through his first term, President Bill Clinton signed the Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 into law. That 356-page bill included a ban on certain semi-automatic firearms and limits on the capacity of firearm magazines. It’s ghoulish and Orwellian short title was the “Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act.”

Firearms misleadingly dubbed “assault weapons” were banned by the law in three ways: by name, as “copies or duplicates” of the named firearms, and by a test that limited what features could be incorporated into a semi-automatic rifle with the ability to accept a detachable magazine. Firearms that were lawfully possessed before the ban’s effective date were exempt.

The ban included a provision that required the U.S. attorney general to “investigate and study the effect of this subtitle and the amendments made by this subtitle,” and in particular, “their impact, if any, on violent and drug trafficking crime.” The study was to be reported to Congress not later than 30 months after the law’s enactment.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) contracted with the Urban Institute to complete that assessment, and it was published on March 13, 1997. The study, while bemoaning the necessarily limited amount of data for review, failed to substantiate any significant reduction in violent crime attributable to the ban. In particular, the authors “were unable to detect any reduction to date in two types of murders that are thought to be closely associated with assault weapons, those with multiple victims in a single incident and those producing multiple bullet wounds per victim.”

The authors did posit a “6.7% reduction in total gun murders between 1994 and 1995, beyond what would have been expected in view of ongoing crime, demographic, and economic trends,” but they admitted this could simply have been a year-to-year variation, “rather than a true effect of the ban.” They also acknowledged that other provisions of the 1994 crime bill, “or a host of state and local initiatives that took place simultaneously,” could have accounted for the drop.

More fundamentally, the authors pointed out that the ban from the outset missed the point when it came to reducing violent crime. “At best,” they wrote, “the assault weapons ban can have only a limited effect on total gun murders, because the banned weapons and magazines were never involved in more than a modest fraction of all gun murders.”

The ban, in other words, actually went after guns and magazines that were underrepresented in firearm related homicides.

What debate over the law did seem to accomplish, according to the study, was to raise interest into the firearms targeted for banning. Production of the targeted guns surged during 1994, “so that more than an extra year’s normal supply of assault weapons and legal substitutes was manufactured during 1994.” The upshot was that prices for grandfathered and substitute guns remained near pre-ban levels for the early years of the law, and consumers could go on as before purchasing them for legal uses.

But that’s not all.

The lead authors of the study later received another NIJ grant to update their findings, which they did in July 2004 under the auspices of the Jerry Lee Center of Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Again, the authors indicated that the ban missed the point. “The AW provision targets a relatively small number of weapons based on features that have little to do with the weapons’ operation,” they wrote. They also reiterated that “AWs were used in only a small fraction of gun crimes prior to the ban: about 2% according to most studies and no more than 8%,” with most of those “assault weapon” crime guns being pistols, rather than rifles.

The authors also conceded that the ban had no effect on the criminal use of what today’s gun control advocates consider the paradigmatic “assault rifle,” the AR-15. “There has not been a clear decline in the use of ARs,” they wrote, an assessment that was “complicated by the rarity of crimes with these weapons … .” Likewise, the authors saw no drop in the use of banned magazines in crime and could not “clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence.”

Overall, the authors concluded that “the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

The only good thing about the ban’s language was that it contained a 10-year sunset clause, the expiration date of which just happened to coincide with the waning days of President George W. Bush’s first term. Congress allowed the law to expire, giving it the ignominious death it so richly deserved.

Since then, even staunch gun control advocates have often admitted that trying to ban certain types of semi-automatic firearms under the guise of “assault weapons” is a fool’s errand.

The Atlantic, in a June 25, 2016 article, referred to the law as “Bill Clinton’s Costly Assault Weapons Ban.” The article quotes a lengthy oral history by Clinton’s chief congressional affairs lobbyist, who indicated he was caught off guard when he learned that Clinton was committed to pursuing the law. “It was,” the lobbyist said, “a disaster from day one.” Democratic party leadership pleaded with Clinton not to pursue the ban. When he insisted, they tried to distance themselves from the effort as much as they could.

While deals were made, the lobbyist recounts, they “were not necessarily made on the substance of the issue. The candy store was open. . . It was a very transactional kind of setup.”

In the 1994 midterm elections soon after the ban’s enactment, Clinton’s party lost a net of 54 seats in the House, as well as 8 Senate seats. The lobbyist attributed at least 40 of those losses to the “assault weapons” ban. Clinton himself later concurred that he had pushed too hard on the ban, effectively handing control of Capitol Hill to the opposition party.

Bill Clinton had no stronger critic in 1994 than the NRA.

Yet that episode is what Joe Biden now calls a “defeat” of the NRA.

Of course, Biden and his fellow Democrats are counting on the idea that the politics around “assault weapons” have changed since then.

And while it’s certainly true that the Democratic base remains committed to the idea of resurrecting an “assault weapons” ban, it’s not true that the American public at large agrees with them or is showing any sustained fervor around the issue. As we reported last October, Americans oppose a ban on AR-15s and similar semi-automatic firearms by robust double-digit margins, with support for such a ban 7% lower than the historical trend dating back to 1996, when Gallup first began polling on the issue.

Defeating the NRA may be a nice rallying cry for people who maintain committed to disarming law-abiding Americans, but taking their semi-automatic rifles won’t improve public safety. Some of the more honest members of the gun control movement admit this, including in articles published in such staunchly anti-gun publications as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Mother Jones, the Los Angeles Times, and Vice.com.

And let’s not forget, Joe Biden himself was the figurehead for Barack Obama’s post-Newtown federal gun control blitz in late 2012 and early 2013.

But, as Politico recounted, “Biden did not deliver.” In that same article, a Senate aide recounted how even as Biden was publicly calling for restoring the federal “assault weapons” ban, “[b]ehind the scenes, [he] was ‘instrumental’ in convincing more liberal Democrats that there was no point in fighting for anything beyond a background check bill … .”

You might even say ol’ Joe himself recognized he was already defeated by the NRA.

It of course remains to be seen if Joe Biden will even prevail in his party’s presidential primary, much less have the opportunity to pursue his legislative agenda from the Oval Office.

But it only takes a little homework to show that when it comes to gun control, all he is offering with his “education” plan are empty promises and failed policies.