Unhappy with President Bush’s decision to support continuation of a controversial gun ban passed during the Clinton administration, many gun owners say they’ll dump Bush in 2004 and vote for someone else if he signs new legislation extending the prohibition.
Angel Shamaya, founder and executive director of the KeepAndBearArms.com website, said in a single day some 4,300 people responded to a poll on the site asking if respondents would continue to support Bush if he renewed a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” initially passed in 1994.
According to polling results by midday yesterday, that figure had climbed to near 4,900 people, with most – more than 93 percent – responding “no” to this question: “If Congress votes to re-authorize the 1994 Clinton/Feinstein federal so-called ‘Assault Weapons’ ban, gives the bill to President Bush and he signs it into law, would you still vote for him in his bid for re-election to the presidency in 2004?”
Less than 7 percent said they’d still support Bush if he aids in reauthorizing the legislation.
The 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, among other things, banned the manufacture and importation of certain military-style semi-automatic rifles, dubbed “assault weapons” by bill supporters, while limiting magazine capacity to just 10 rounds. It is considered a crowning achievement for anti-gun groups, but to get more support, the bill’s sponsors inserted a 10-year sunset provision, which takes effect in September 2004 – weeks before the general election.
Gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association were hoping the GOP-controlled Congress would allow the law to expire. The current Congress and administration are considered the most gun-rights friendly in more than a decade, but Bush’s comments last week threw that presumption into doubt. White House spokesman Scott McClellan told Knight-Ridder newspapers that the president “supports the current law, and he supports reauthorization of the current law.”
“There is no such thing as gun control, only incremental gun prohibition,” said Brian Puckett, co-founder of national gun-rights organization Citizens of America, of the ban itself. “Gun owners must grasp another political reality, which is: Allowing the government to get away with dictating the features of some guns sets the judicial, legislative and psychological precedent for allowing them to dictate the features of all guns.”
“Our gun-rights organization, along with many others, took a stand for Bush in and after the 2000 election,” Shamaya told WorldNetDaily. “From urging even Libertarians and third-party voters to support him to helping account for ‘lost’ military votes in case it came down to that, we fought to turn the Texas governor into a president. If supporting a semi-automatic rifle ban – the Feinstein/Clinton gun ban, no less – is how he intends to repay us, he’s lost his marbles.”
While the results of the KABA poll are non-scientific, they do provide a glimpse into the angst of gun owners. As WorldNetDaily reported, some lawmakers and gun-rights advocates are also upset with Bush’s stance.
“I was surprised and disappointed to learn of the report of the president’s support for continuing the ban on homeland-security rifles, aka semi-auto rifles,” said Larry Pratt, executive director of Virginia-based Gun Owners of America, a group with 300,000 members nationwide.
“I am also puzzled. Why would George Bush want to help Democrats? The issue, when it was opposed by most Republicans, cost Democrats the House in 1994 and the White House in 2000,” Pratt said. “Banning the homeland-security rifle is pure Washington, but anti-Constitution and anti-homeland security.”
Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, also decried the current ban and does not support the president’s position to renew it.
Gun-rights supporters voiced their opinions to WorldNetDaily regarding Bush’s decision.
“I will not vote for [Bush] if this ban is in place by Election Day,” one WND reader said. “I am a Republican who will vote for a Democrat if I have to, if they fight against this bill. All of my conservative, gun-owning friends are exactly the same as me.”
“Recently we saw on TV our soldiers handing out AK-47s to Iraqi volunteer cops,” said another reader. “Our government handing out AK-47s to people they do not know, folks that have not passed an FBI background check … Yet our government would fall over backwards before even suggesting that Americans arm themselves. Quite hypocritical, I think.”
“I’ve said long ago that ‘we’d see’ about Bush on guns when this opportunity finally came about,” said another. “What a non-surprise. One could wrap a dill pickle in a Godiva Chocolate box and bow, but the contents remain the same. …”
Not all gun owners have criticized Bush’s decision.
“He stated during the campaign he supported the law. I am pro-guns and pro-NRA, but I agree that Bush should support this assault-weapons ban,” said one reader. “When in Washington you have to pick your fights carefully and this is not one worth expending political capital on.”
Gun-rights activists were also upset by the president’s stance because it comes at a time when a new series of lawsuits against gun makers is being launched by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and others.
One retailer/activist, Concealed Carry Inc., of Oak Brook, Ill., has even begun a campaign to “cooperate with the NAACP” and is refusing to sell firearms to blacks.
“I am going to use the broad authority granted me as a federally licensed gun dealer to prevent straw purchases by denying sales to African-Americans. To insure fairness, there will be no exceptions,” said John Birch, president of Concealed Carry Inc. He said he’ll continue to ban sales to African-Americans “until the NAACP asks us to, at which point we will be pleased to resume sales.”
“We must let Bush and the Republican party know that if they don’t support our rights we will either refuse to go to the polls or we will vote for a third party,” Puckett said. “If you give them your vote even when they sell you out, they’ll keep selling you out.”
“President Bush created the so-called Homeland Security Department, yet he wants to continue a ban on homeland-security rifles and has done nothing to protect the sieve laughably called a border,” Shamaya added. “Bush’s support for a ban on semi-automatic rifles is a vote to leave patriots in this great nation with inferior defensive capabilities.”
If you’d like to sound off on this issue, please take part in the WorldNetDaily poll.