Assault weapons are increasingly being perceived by legislators, police organizations, handgun restriction advocates, and the press as a public health threat. As these weapons come to be associated with drug traffickers, paramilitary extremists, and survivalists, their television and movie glamour is losing its lustre to a violent reality.
Because of this fact, assault weapons are quickly becoming the leading topic of America’s gun control debate and will most likely remain the leading gun control issue for the near future. Such a shift will not only damage America’s gun lobby, but strengthen the handgun restriction lobby.
As an almost off the wall observation I find it curious Sugarmann uses the British spelling of “luster”.
More on track is that Sugarmann, in some ways, was brilliant with this study. He correctly identified a political weakness and was instrumental in exploiting it. The 1994 Federal “Assault Weapon Ban” and as well as several previous and subsequent state and local bans can trace their roots to this study.
But Sugarmann failed in his prediction “America’s gun lobby” would be damaged and that the handgun restriction lobby will benefit from the debate and restrictions on “Assault Weapons”.
The NRA membership exploded to record levels with the political debates and actual passing of the Federal “Assault Weapon Ban”. Today they are as strong or stronger than ever before and members of Congress have ranked the NRA as the most powerful lobbying organization in the country several years in a row.
Handgun Control Inc., now known the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, is specifically called out as having 180,000 dues paying members and an annual budget of $4,000,000. They changed to the more stealthy name in 2001 and as of 2010 only had about 28,000 people who had given donations or paid dues in the previous year. (Tamara has the appropriate words).
The National Coalition to Ban Handguns, now known as Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, is also called out. This organization changed their name just one year later, ‘because the group felt that “assault rifles” as well as handguns, should be outlawed.’ These days they are reduced to little more than sparing with gun bloggers on Twitter.
And of course we need to look at Sugarmann’s own Violence Policy Center. Yesterday, which inspired this QOTD, Sebastian posted the answer–VPC: The Most Irrelevant Anti-Gun Group?—Joe]