The ban on assault weapons expires on Monday. The law, which bans weapons like AK-47s, Uzis, and high capacity ammo magazines, had been in effect since 1994. Congress has let the issue slide and the President hasn’t had much to say about it either. So, come Monday, these weapons will be legal and you can bet there will be shipments of them on the way to warm the cockles of assault weapon enthusiasts’ hearts all around the country.
I can hear it now. “Guns don’t kill people, terrorists do.” That is what I’d anticipate Tom DeLay, who wants the ban to expire, would say.
Lifting this ban must put an ugly gleam in the eyes of some ne’er-do-wells the world over. Especially the ones who harbor fantasies of standing in Times Square or Faneuil Hall Marketplace and emptying a few magazines before going down to glorious martyrdom.
It’s pretty strange, isn’t it? I can’t take a nail file on an airplane, but the people who hyperventilate over the possiblities of nail file attacks don’t consider easy peasy availability of assault weapons, designed to kill as many people as possible in as short a time as possible, anything to get in a lather over. I’m more and more convinced that the legislators in Washington don’t have anything stuffed between their ears except dead air.
It’s not that their ears are stuffed with dead air, it’s that their pockets are stuffed with NRA money. Or, conversely, they’re terrified of what the NRA will do to them if they vote in favor of extending the ban. That vote in 1994 is partially credited for the Republican takeover of the House that year.
I admit I don’t quite understand the fear these people have of losing their (elected) jobs; on past performance most of them would immediately get offered lobbying positions in D.C. anyway, probably at higher pay.
Money probably figures into it well enough, but I think it’s the power that is the narcotic. Tom DeLay is probably the best example. The power to get what he wants. The power to intimidate to get what he wants without repercussions.
During the last SOTU, (I think I was watching CNN), there was a moment when the dems were giving the President a bit of a hard time during the speech. The camera cut away to Tom DeLay and the half-lidded look of sheer malevolence on his face shocked the hell out me. I remember thinking, “I have seen the devil.” I can’t imagine having to work with someone like that or having that gaze fastened on me. To put it neatly, it was a moment that explained much.
Power like that is not willingly given up for either money or prestigious private-sector appointments.