No one, including the Brady Campaign, seriously believes that Barack Obama was elected president because of his support for gun control. But Brady is pretending that it provided Obama the margin of victory in November, and has provided him with a very long list of gun bans and other restrictions that it expects from him in return.
If for no other reason, Obama might want to tell Brady "no," because if he were to do their bidding, they would be sure to demand that he do even more. That's demonstrated by Brady's statement that their current request "is not intended to present an exhaustive list . . . but does provide a starting point." It includes:
A California-style "assault weapons" ban. For several years, Brady has referred to California's ban--which is far more restrictive than the federal ban of 1994-2004--as the "model" for the rest of the nation. Brady doesn't say so, but it clearly supports--as does the Violence Policy Center--the California--like ban that Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) has proposed in Congress since before the 1994 semi-automatic firearm ban expired. Among its differences from the 1994 ban, the McCarthy bill would ban rifles like the AR-15, even if they do not have a flash suppressor, bayonet mount, or adjustable-position stock. It would ban the M1, the M1 Carbine, the Ruger Mini-14 series, the SKS, and many other semi-automatic rifles not previously labeled as "assault weapons." And it would ban every semi-automatic shotgun, by banning its receiver. Brady wants .50 caliber rifles banned as well.
A ban on standard magazines designed for self-defense. Brady calls them "high-capacity," but magazines that hold more than 10 rounds are designed for self-defense, as demonstrated by the fact that most guns that use standard defensive magazines (those holding more than 10 rounds) are handguns designed for self-defense, and used for that purpose by private citizens, law enforcement officers, and military personnel alike.
Now's as good a time as any to dispel one blatant lie that Brady includes with its wish list. Brady says, "Beginning with the Brady Law in 1993, the assault weapon ban in 1994, and other Clinton Administration policies, our nation experienced an historic decline in gun crime and violence," adding, "during the Bush years, gun crime increased as the Administration and Congress . . . allowed the assault weapons ban to expire [and] gave the gun industry special legal protection."
The truth is, violent crime began declining in 1991, three years before the Brady Act and the semi-automatic firearm ban, and more than a year before Bill Clinton took office. And, the nation's violent crime rate has declined another eight percent since President Bush took office.
Moreover, in 1998, the Brady Act's waiting period on gun sales ceased, because it was replaced by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which the Brady Campaign has always opposed (though they try to take credit for it today, inappropriately referring to NICS checks as "Brady checks.") And, contrary to Brady's prediction that crime rates would soar if the semi-automatic firearm ban expired, the ban expired in 2004, and since then violent crime rates have been lower than anytime in the last 31 years.
Repeal the recent Department of the Interior rule allowing state law to determine how firearms may be carried in National Parks and wildlife refuges. Brady offers no evidence to support its hunch that allowing permit-holders to carry concealed firearms "would increase the risk of gun crime, injury and death in the parks and wildlife refuges." But as for Brady's hunches, for the last 20 years it has predicted that allowing people to carry guns for protection will cause murder rates to soar, but people now carry guns for protection in 40 states and since 1999, murder rates have been lower than anytime since the mid-1960s.
Repeal the Tiahrt Amendment and the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). Brady complains that the Tiahrt Amendment "restricts disclosure of the data to law enforcement," and prevents the BATFE from disclosing firearm-tracing data to the public. The first claim is a lie. The amendment allows BATFE to provide the data to any law enforcement agency involved in a bona fide investigation related to a traced firearm.
Tracing data is not released to the public so that, among other reasons, criminals won't know that the police are investigating them. Brady should just tell the truth, for once: even though the BATFE and Congressional Research Service repeatedly state that tracing data are not reliable enough to draw conclusions about the criminal use of guns generally, Brady wants the data so it can concoct bogus claims to use in lawsuits against firearm manufacturers who comply with every applicable firearm law. These lawsuits are currently prohibited by the PLCAA, which Brady hopes to overturn.
Require all firearm sales to go through NICS (advocated by Mr. Obama's choice for Attorney General, Eric Holder), and allow the FBI to retain the records of all NICS-approved firearm transfers. It used to be that Brady claimed that the only private transfers that it wanted run through NICS were those taking place at gun shows. Now, it's all private transfers, including gifts between family members and sales or trades between friends. And, it wants the FBI to record all transfers. Translation: Gun and gun owner registration, no two ways about it.
Allow a NICS check to reject someone whose name is on an FBI watch list. This is yet another idea recommended by prospective Attorney General Holder and Obama adviser Rahm Emanuel. The obvious problem with it is that you can get on one of these lists by having the same name as a suspected criminal or terrorist, and if you are on a list, you may not be able to determine which one you are on, much less get yourself removed. Sen. Ted Kennedy even ended up on a "no fly" list, for reasons that have not been made public.
Prohibit the sale of more than one handgun to a single individual in a 30-day period, in order to thwart "large-volume" illegal gun traffickers. Federal law already requires a dealer to report to law enforcement authorities whenever a person buys more than one handgun in a five-day period. This proposal amounts to the rationing of a constitutional right with no crime-reduction benefit.
Require all new guns to micro-stamp ammunition with serial numbers linking the owner in a federal gun-owner registration database. Most crimes are solved by other means, not by ammunition markings, and criminals could easily deface the firearm parts that would bear the serial numbers. Brady's agenda isn't about solving crimes; for them micro-stamping is another way of achieving gun and gun owner registration.
Require consumer safety standards for firearms. Even the vehemently anti-gun Violence Policy Center has said this would lead to standards too difficult for firearm manufacturers to achieve, thus ending firearm production.
We close with yet another Brady lie, "These proposals are clearly constitutional under the U.S. Supreme Court's recent Second Amendment decision in District of Columbia v. Heller and they pose no threat to the interests of law-abiding gun owners." Heller clearly said that laws cannot deprive people of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms for defensive purposes. As for "the interests of gun owners," we'll follow the Supreme Court's example, and let gun owners speak for themselves. The Court declared D.C.'s handgun ban unconstitutional because gun owners consider handguns to be the type of firearm best suited for self-defense.
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