The election results have riled up the firearms owning world, bringing flashbacks to those dark times when the assault weapons ban was the law of the land. The fear that a Chicago Democrat with no re-elections on the horizon would turn to gun control like a hungry wolf turns to a wounded deer was definitely a factor in Romney’s strong showing, but is that really something that we need to fear happening immediately? I don’t think so, and here’s why . . .
The president wields a lot of power, but legislation comes from the Congress. Specifically, if there were to be another AWB, it would germinate in the House of Representatives, which is the body that deals with finance (since the commerce clause of the Constitution is the hook that they use to legislate everything non-finance related). That’s where the original AWB came from, passed during the 103rd Congress.
Here’s the thing though: the legislation passed during a time when (A) gun owners still had the stink on them that plagued gun rights throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, and (B) both the House and Senate were solidly Democratic. In short, it was the perfect storm.
These days, I don’t think that’s possible. At all. The House retained (and extended) its Republican majority last night, with the states re-electing enough Republicans to maintain solid control in that body. And while Democrats might still have the Senate and the presidency, I don’t see a new AWB getting out of committee in this environment, let alone passing a vote in the House.
In short, for now I don’t think there’s anything to fear from an assault weapons ban proposal. I don’t see how it could possibly be enacted in the current climate. And while the president might not be as pandering as before when he had his own re-election to worry about, he still has the Congressional midterm elections to look forward to. And any movement on his part to do something radically Democratic in nature would push those states where Democrats in Congress are barely holding on to their seats over the edge into Republican control. He doesn’t want that.
The system works. For now, I don’t think that an AWB or anything like that is on the horizon. But check back in two years.