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NRA says Congress will not pass assault weapons ban

By Eileen Sullivan

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 09:18 a.m. HST, Jan 14, 2013

WASHINGTON » As Vice President Joe Biden finalizes a package of recommendations for the president to curb gun violence, the National Rifle Association predicted that Congress is likely to block any new laws that would ban assault weapons.

The NRA has so far prevented passage of another assault weapons ban like the one that expired in 2004. But some lawmakers say the December massacre in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman slaughtered 20 young children and six adults, has transformed the country, and Americans are ready for stricter gun laws.

Still, the NRA says it thinks Congress would likely prevent a new assault weapons ban.

"When a president takes all the power of his office, if he's willing to expend political capital, you don't want to make predictions," NRA president David Keene told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday. "You don't want to bet your house on the outcome. But I would say that the likelihood is that they are not going to be able to get an assault weapons ban through this Congress."

Biden is to meet today with House members to discuss ways to reduce gun violence. He is expected to give President Barack Obama a comprehensive package of recommendations Tuesday.

Senators plan to introduce a bill that would ban assault weapons and limit the size of ammunition magazines, like the equipment used in the Newton shooting where 20 children were shot multiple times with a high-powered rifle. Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California has promised to make a renewed push for a ban on assault weapons.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., responded with a flat-out "no" when asked Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation" whether Congress would pass a ban on assault weapons.

Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a lifelong member of the NRA, has said everything should be on the table to prevent another tragedy like Newtown. But he assured gun owners he would fight for gun rights at the same time.

"I would tell all of my friends in NRA, I will work extremely hard and I will guarantee you there will not be an encroachment on your Second Amendment rights," Manchin said on ABC's "This Week."

The NRA's deep pockets help bolster allies and punish lawmakers who buck the powerful weapons lobby.

The group spent at least $24 million in the 2012 elections — $16.8 million through its political action committee and nearly $7.5 million through its affiliated Institute for Legislative Action. Separately, the NRA spent some $4.4 million through July 1 to lobby Congress. Keene insists the group represents its members and not just the gun manufacturers, though he said the NRA would like industry to contribute more money to the association.

"We know what works and what doesn't work," Keene said. "And we're not willing to compromise on people's rights when there is no evidence that doing so is going to accomplish the purpose."

The NRA, instead, is pushing for measures that would keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, until a person gets better.

"If they are cured, there ought to be a way out of it," Keene said.

Currently, a person is banned from buying a gun from a licensed dealer if the person is a fugitive, a felon, convicted of substance abuse, convicted of domestic violence, living in the U.S. illegally or someone who "has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution."

States, however, are inconsistent in providing information about mentally ill residents to the federal government for background checks. And, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said some 40 percent of gun sales happen with no background checks, often at gun shows or through private sellers over the Internet or in classified ads.

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serious wrote:
As usual, there will be no "Profiles in courage" among legislators. $$$$ talks--the heck with the voters!!!!
on January 14,2013 | 06:07AM
mcc wrote:
Why in the world does any person in a civilized society need an assult weapon? Target practice?
on January 14,2013 | 06:39AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Not enough money to buy a Big Mac or a Zip Pac. Need those weapons to rob FHB.
on January 14,2013 | 06:46AM
96706 wrote:
LOL ... good answer!
on January 14,2013 | 06:51AM
regino23 wrote:
because we are not in a civilized society
on January 14,2013 | 07:38AM
hawaiikone wrote:
And apparently it's getting worse every day.
on January 14,2013 | 08:15AM
Kokoy wrote:
It's a lot of fun to shoot a gun, love it, wish I could afford an AR15.
on January 14,2013 | 12:13PM
96706 wrote:
The NRA are the ones pointing the gun to Congress and holding them hostage. Sad.
on January 14,2013 | 06:51AM
tiki886 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on January 14,2013 | 07:04AM
droid wrote:
Exactly! This very article says, “States, however, are inconsistent in providing information about mentally ill residents to the federal government for background checks. And, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said some 40 percent of gun sales happen with no background checks, often at gun shows or through private sellers over the Internet or in classified ads.”
We need to ramp up enforcement in order to curb gun violence, otherwise, a new gun law will just be like all the other gun laws: useless!
on January 14,2013 | 08:54AM
mcc wrote:
They did not have assult rifles when the Constitution was written. The Congress never foresaw that weapons would be so lethal. Weapons have changed and the Constitutional rights should change accordingly.There is no real reason for civilians to own such weapons.
on January 14,2013 | 10:43AM
Leinanij wrote:
The Founding Fathers had no knowledge of semi-automatic rifles, high-capacity ammo clips, plastic explosives, or atomic bombs. If they had, I'm certain they would have included exceptions as to what private citizens could posses.
on January 14,2013 | 11:27AM
ROBT wrote:
I seriously doubt that.... the theory behind the second amendment was that their current government (British) took away the colonists gun to keep them in control. I am not sure that we want every single citizen running around with nuclear weapons, but to say they only wanted the people to have rights to muskets would be ridiculous. It is more of the right to protect oneself if the current government become corrupt and take away your rights with force! I do believe that times have changed to some levels but giving away the tools to protect ones self and never be able to get them back is a large step. How many innocent lives are we willing to sacrifice before we give up this right (to protect ourselves) if we are willing. More people die from alcohol cigarettes obesity cancer. We can take away alcohol but from history we learned that sure did not work. One thing for sure is that there is no easy answer, but taking away guns will only be correct if you are sure that our government is uncorruptible and never will be.
on January 14,2013 | 02:00PM
hawaiikone wrote:
You're absolutely correct, but it sounds more dramatic to imply the NRA wants nukes passed around to the membership.
on January 14,2013 | 02:31PM
kahuku01 wrote:
If ever NRS president David Keene or Senator John McCain family member or relatives were shot and killed by a crazy person with an assault weapon, they would be the first to lobby and initiate a new law to banned assault weapons. Yes, when it affects their family, these people that are in a position to change or amend a law will be the first to lobby for a change.
on January 14,2013 | 08:04AM
kahuku01 wrote:
Correction: Typographical error NRA not NRS.
on January 14,2013 | 08:25AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Both would probably regret their families inability to defend themselves, and both would renew efforts to determine why there was a "crazy person" at the center of their respective tragedies, regardless of the means used to carry out the murders.
on January 14,2013 | 09:10AM
busterb wrote:
Amazing that ANY special interest group can hold America hostage. Good thing the Twilight fans have no voice.
on January 14,2013 | 08:07AM
Leinanij wrote:
The NRA is the biggest bully of Congress and the American people. We don't live on the lawless frontier anymore; we live in a civilized society. A well-regulated militia is not necessary for the security of a free state; we have police, sheriffs, the National Guard, the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force. Banning the sale of high-powered military weapons with clips that allow 30 shots or more before reloading does not infringe upon the Second Amendment. The 20 children killed in Connecticut one month ago today are among the 6,000 American children who annually die from gunshot wounds. As a civilized society, we must do better. We demand better. http://www.demandaplan.org/
on January 14,2013 | 11:47AM
Skyler wrote:
What's the loss if they do pass the ban? NRA survived during the ban - I'm sure it will survive after. Maybe more people will, too - ya never know.
on January 14,2013 | 12:07PM
kahuku01 wrote:
NRA says congress will not pass assault weapons ban because lawmakers have covered before the gun lobby ever since 1994 when democrats took huge losses because the NRA singled out those who voted for the "Brady bill". Brady bill (a background check for gun purchasers and federally licensed dealers) and a ban on assault style weapons.Jim Brady keep pushing for reasonable gun control laws. Brady acknowledge Washington must find the courage to stand up to the NRA. Reasonable steps to reduce gun violence will never be taken if democrats and republicans, and the president don't stand up to the NRA because most Americans support gun control. This is all about a political game rather than trying to prevent further bloodshed and killings of innocent American citizens. Until NRA elected members and elected members of congress families or relatives are gunned down innocently by high powered assault weapons, there will be a stronger lobbying to ban assault weapons.
on January 14,2013 | 02:05PM
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