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Brady Gains Lost

Reported by Eleanor - September 13, 2004 -

Studio B with Shep Smith (Sept. 13, 3:00 p.m.) covered the expiration of the ban on assault weapons four times during this hour.

Molly Henneberg reported that Bush would have signed if the renewal of the ban had passed Congress. Kerry said Bush "caved to powerful friends in the gun lobby." This makes it harder for the police and easier for criminals. The other side says that AK-47 imports are still banned, and we need to enforce existing laws. Scott McClellan said that if the ban is lifted, there will be no difference because of loopholes, like changing the name or the accessories. Some states have bans. Nancy Pelosi said that Bush didn't lift a finger to stop this.

Major Garrett said that Kerry was endorsed by the National Association of Police. Kerry stated that the president allowed the ban to disappear. Garrett continued, Bush failed to spend more on the "Clinton era" cops on the street program. Kerry voted for the ban that had a ten year sunset provision. This Clinton ban hurt Gore in 2000.

James Rosen, covering the Bush campaign, focused on health care instead of guns, saying that Bush cast Kerry as a "flip flopper" on health care with a $1.5 trillion program that would remove vital decisions from doctors and patients, and put Washington bureaucrats in charge of health care. Kerry said Bush's plan will cover only 5% of the uninsured.

Mike Beard, President of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said this lifting of the gun ban is a tragedy for people and the police. The president "flip flopped and lied" about the assault weapons ban. Shep asked if he called the president a liar, and Beard responded - a bald faced lie, and he should be held responsible. Shep: Did the ban reduce crime? Beard: Police officers want the ban renewed on high capacity magazines. Shep: Those are "lofty goals." The manufacturer can modify them here and there. Beard: We could come up with much more effective legislation. Shep: You can call almost anything an assault weapon. Beard: Para-military weapons were banned - designed for war and the military.

Summary of key points of Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the NRA, with the last word. Shep asked him if the president lied. LaPierre: The president said he would sign if it reached his desk. It didn't reach his desk. Is a rapid fire gun a lie, or if it makes a bigger hole - a lie. Shep: Bush's team has actively worked against the ban behind the scenes, assuring the GOP House leaders would not bring it up for a vote, despite some 80% of Americans favoring a extension of the ban. (Important point I was reminded of, remembered, and missed on the first summary. Thanks, Charles.) LaPierre: It was a bill about cosmetics. Other things cut crime. (He mentioned some.) Shep: People should have anything they want? LaPierre: Use existing gun laws. Enforce current laws to cut the crime rate. Shep: Both sides misled for political reasons. How much of this is about big business? LaPierre: John Kerry is sponsoring the next step to declare the shotgun he held up last week a banned weapon.

Comment: The republicans are struggling to spin this one. Most reasonable people would say that if the ban doesn't go far enough, expand it, rather than do away with it altogether.