National Journal's Fournier Blames NRA for Democrats Lacking Votes to Ban Guns
In his March 20 piece, "Cowardly Congress, Ruthless NRA, and an Impotent Obama Conspire Against Assault-Weapons Ban" National Journal’s Ron Fournier attempts to shame 2nd Amendment-supporting Americans over Democrats killing an assault weapons ban before it had the chance to hit the Senate floor.
Fournier groused that “the gun lobby deserves most of the blame for creating a political climate in which any regulation of firearms is viewed as an attack on the constitutional right to bear arms. This as much a financial issue to the NRA and its industry allies as it is a constitutional one.” What climate is he talking about? The liberal media have been behind Obama’s gun control agenda since December, using every opportunity possible to use the tragedy to press a gun control agenda.
What's more, while it's supposedly "ruthless" for the NRA, the nation's oldest civil rights organization, to defend the 2nd Amendment from encroachment, Fournier has no qualms about today's edition of the New York Daily News, which featured the victims of Sandy Hook in a ghoulish display of political exploitation. It’s advocacy journalism at its most craven.
Furthermore, so-called assault weapons are already a small percentage of gun-related crimes. Handguns are used much more often in such incidents. Additionally, the 1994-2004 federal assault weapons ban did nothing to stop the school shootings that occurred during that era.
But those facts dont' matter to Fournier, who apparently believes polling numbers should trump constitutional rights and logic. After noting that “an ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that... 57 percent favor a ban on assault weapons," Fournier thundered that "Every member of Congress, every White House aide, and every National Rifle Association dues-payer should take another look at those numbers. Be ashamed.”
What's more, as a longtime Washington political journalism veteran, Fournier most certainly was aware from the outset that a push for a fresh gun ban would be an uphill battle, especially given the fact that most Americans are pro-gun rights and that most states have greatly liberalized gun laws and concealed carry laws in the past 20 years. Additionally, the 2008 Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller means the courts are going to have stronger scrutiny of fresh gun laws than before the landmark precedent.
On top of that, the first ban was hard to pass in 1994. As Cassie M. Chew wrote for the PBS NewsHour back in December:
Feinstein's  amendment was a risky move.
Despite the other costly and controversial provisions of the crime bill, such as a proposal to spend more than $9 billion to hire more police officers, another $9 billion to build new prisons and a proposal to expand the federal death penalty to cover over 50 new offenses, including, drive-by shootings, the language banning assault weapons garnered the most debate during the final weeks of congressional hearings on the legislation.
"We have one more hurdle to go to get this crime bill passed," Biden said in August 1994 during one of the final debates on the legislation. "And now we will get down to the single item that has made the difference all along for the last six years: guns. The issue will be assault weapons or no assault weapons. I hope no one has any misunderstanding about that. We are ready to go ahead and debate."
According to a 2004 report by the University of Pennsylvania's Jerry Lee Center of Criminology, the 10-year ban reduced the share of crimes involving assault weapons but the report also said that its effects on gun violence "are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.
Given the shellacking the Democrats took in 1994, and the fact that the president has made retaking the House a priority in his second term means that a non-starter, like a renewed assault weapons ban, would’ve never been passed. Then again, why should conservative, gun-rights supporting Americans be “ashamed?” After all, it's journalists like Fournier who are forever attacking Washington for a lack of partisanshp. But here we have bipartisan recognition that a gun ban is a bridge too far, and all hell breaks loose on the Left. Make up your mind, guys.