Gun Culture 2.0 reigns now. Shall-issue concealed carry is old news and practically everywhere, except here in California and a couple other states. The new trend of permitless carry is close to becoming a norm. Today we benefit from decades of research showing the rapid spread of gun ownership and carry results in less crime. Personally, I didn’t even become a gun enthusiast until 2002, when I joined Front Sight as a life member and began training intensively.
Back then, I didn’t even know what I didn’t know, and I might have made “reasonable compromises” of the sort Donald Trump is being blamed for at that time with regard to assault weapons.
Glenn Beck is one of the most vehement critics of Donald Trump, yet his own The Blaze points out that Ronald Reagan himself not only supported the Assault Weapons Ban but actively lobbied for it:
Yet unlike Obama’s assertion about taxes, which is at odds in spirit with Reagan’s own tax reforms, evidence for the idea that Reagan genuinely supported a ban on assault weapons exists, and we are here to examine and, in some cases, explain it.
The piece of evidence that has been cited most extensively (often on liberal blogs) is a letter written in 1994 and cosigned by Reagan, former President Jimmy Carter and former President Gerald Ford supporting then-President Clinton’s assault weapons ban. Here is the text of that letter, via Daily Kos:
May 3, 1994
To Members of the U.S. House of Representatives:We are writing to urge your support for a ban on the domestic manufacture of military-style assault weapons. This is a matter of vital importance to the public safety. Although assault weapons account for less than 1% of the guns in circulation, they account for nearly 10% of the guns traced to crime.Every major law enforcement organization in America and dozens of leading labor, medical, religious, civil rights and civic groups support such a ban. Most importantly, poll after poll shows that the American public overwhelmingly support a ban on assault weapons. A 1993 CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll found that 77% of Americans support a ban on the manufacture, sale, and possession of semi-automatic assault guns, such as the AK-47.The 1989 import ban resulted in an impressive 40% drop in imported assault weapons traced to crime between 1989 and 1991, but the killing continues. Last year, a killer armed with two TEC9s killed eight people at a San Francisco law firm and wounded several others. During the past five years, more than 40 law enforcement officers have been killed or wounded in the line of duty by an assault weapon.While we recognize that assault weapon legislation will not stop all assault weapon crime, statistics prove that we can dry up the supply of these guns, making them less accessible to criminals. We urge you to listen to the American public and to the law enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacture of these weapons.
Gerald R. Ford
However, a form letter from a former president on a current issue of the day need not necessarily have that president’s personal fingerprints on it, and especially given that Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimers later the same year this letter was sent, we needed more evidence to suggest that Reagan himself personally supported the idea. As such, we went back to news coverage from 1994 to see how the issue was being treated, then.
According to a story in the Los Angeles Times, it checks out:
Reagan did support the ban.
Moreover, as Buzzfeed has documented in a longer piece exploring the passage of the Assault Weapons Ban, Reagan’s influence over the debate about that bill amounted to more than just one form letter.
He actively sought out support from Republicans and defied the NRA, and may have been the person who was ultimately responsible for the passage of the bill by getting two former opponents to back it: As the assault weapon ban vote neared, Reagan — who as president had signed 1986 legislation loosening restrictions on guns — wrote a letter with former Presidents Ford and Carter to the House of Representatives urging them to vote in favor of the ban.
[…]Congressman Scott Klug, a Republican from Wisconsin was an opponent of the assault weapon ban and the day before the vote stated his opposition to the ban. Klug only changed his voted after “a last minute plea from President Reagan” in the form of a handwritten note.
”Dear Scott: As a longtime gun owner and supporter of the right to bear arms, I, too, have carefully thought about this issue. I am convinced that the limitations imposed in this bill are absolutely necessary,” Reagan wrote Klug. “I know there is heavy pressure on you to go the other way, but I strongly urge you to join me in supporting this bill. It must be passed. Sincerely, Ronald Reagan.”
”I can think of no one who has been a stronger supporter of law and order and a stronger supporter of the Second Amendment,” Klug said in a statement regarding Reagan’s note announcing his support for the ban.
Another former Congressman, New Hampshire Democrat Dick Swett, also credited the former President with influencing his vote.
So not only did Reagan support the assault weapons ban, but he actively campaigned for it and made sure to get his fingerprints all over it. Obama’s reference to the previous President is undeniably correct.