With President Barack Obama stating that his “urban agenda” includes reimposing the former federal ban on “assault weapons” and “large” magazines, it’s out-of-date to refer to that law as it was known at the time–the Clinton Gun Ban.
On second thought, maybe not just yet.
In January, speaking at a meeting of the anti-gun U.S. Conference of Mayors, former president Bill Clinton took credit for the old ban, praised the Brady Campaign for continuing to lobby Congress for a new ban, and suggested that the mood in Washington might be more favorable toward a ban now than it had been during the last eight years.
Here’s what Mr. Clinton had to say:
“[W]e will not go forward anymore, I don’t think, with the kind of politics of division and destruction that drug us down for too long. That’s essentially what is different, and what creates this great moment of opportunity . . . . to have conversations with people, instead of screaming matches, over things like what former Mayor [now Brady Campaign president Paul] Helmke works on so much—over what is the best way to keep the American people safe. Nobody wants to repeal the Second Amendment, and nobody wants to keep you out of the deer woods, but wouldn’t it be nice if your children didn’t have to worry about being mowed down by an assault weapon when they turn the corner?”
After the mayors’ reflexive applause receded, Clinton continued, this time speaking more broadly than in reference to gun control alone. “[W]e’re now in a position to begin again,” he said. “It’s not a leftward movement. It’s a forward, communitarian movement.” Communitarianism is a movement that considers individualism an impediment to society uniformly adopting values the movement considers appropriate, including authoritarian gun control. For example, the Communitarian Network platform states “there is little sense in gun registration. What we need to significantly enhance public safety is domestic disarmament of the kind that exists in practically all democracies.”
Mr. Clinton did not treat the mayors to a longwinded explanation of the communitarian ideal, nor did he explain that the Brady Campaign no longer advocates merely the reimposition of the Clinton-era ban. Instead, like the Violence Policy Center and Legal Community Against Violence, Brady advocates a much broader federal ban, such as California’s or the one proposed by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), which would ban guns made to comply with the 1994 ban (by omitting one or more attachments, such as a flash suppressor), all semi-automatic shotguns, the Ruger Mini-14, the .30 Carbine, the M1 Garand, and other categories of guns and gun parts not affected by the 1994 ban.
Mr. Clinton also praised President Obama’s selection of Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State, a position in which Mrs. Clinton could lend support to international efforts to impose gun prohibitions domestically.
It’s going to be an interesting four years, to say the least.