Monday, September 13, 2004

The Miami Herald : Kerry Chides Bush on Assault Weapons Ban

Sen. John Kerry sought to make President Bush pay a political price Monday for the expiration of a partial assault weapons ban, but other Democrats reacted warily on an issue that has hurt the party in recent elections.

"George Bush made a choice today. He chose his powerful friends in the gun lobby over the police officers and the families he promised to protect," the Democratic presidential candidate said a few hours after the end of a decade-old ban on 19 types of military-style weapons.

Half a continent away, the issue seemed different to Democratic Rep. Brad Carson of Oklahoma, a key figure in his party's drive to gain a Senate majority this fall.

"He opposes reauthorization of the assault weapons ban," said spokesman Kristopher Eisenla. "He is a champion and a supporter of gun owners rights."

The party's divisions were on display in the House, as well. There, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., and others called for a new ban - at a news conference that none of the party's top congressional leaders attended.

"It's an issue that cuts both ways," said Brendan Daly, a spokesman for House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. The California lawmaker supports the ban but has not made its extension a priority.

Under her leadership, minority Democrats have worked to force eight pieces of legislation to the floor in the past two years, including one relating to electricity reliability. But because there is no caucus consensus on the weapons ban, Daly said, it is not among the eight.

(click on the title for the whole article)


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