Bill Clinton called for the Assault Weapons Ban to be re-instated Thursday following two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that killed a combined 31 people.
The 42nd president signed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban into law in 1994, but the law expired ten years later in accordance with its sunset provision. Bringing back the ban has long been promoted by Democrats and some Republicans. (RELATED: Republican Rep Endorses ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban, Mag Restrictions)
“Elected officials speak about the need for change,” Clinton wrote in Time Magazine. “But the tragedies do keep happening, while the one thing that we know can reduce the number and the death tolls of mass shootings has not been done: reinstituting the ban on assault weapons and the limit on high-capacity magazines that was in effect from 1994 to 2004.”
Clinton also lambasted the “gun lobby,” accusing unnamed groups of “spreading paranoia” in order to stop gun control laws from being enacted. (RELATED: New Season Of FX”s ‘American Crime Story’ Will Focus On Bill Clinton’s Sex Scandal With Monica Lewinsky)
The ex-president wrote:
For too long, the gun lobby and their elected allies have stalled, deflected and changed the conversation until the pressure abates and they can get back to business, heedless of the killings inevitably yet to come.
Clinton also dismissed concerns that pursuing gun control measures could hurt the Democratic party politically, as it did in the 1994 midterm elections following the ban.
“The gun lobby often invokes the Democratic losses in the 1994 midterm elections after passing the assault-weapons ban and the Brady background-check bill to try to scare lawmakers of both parties into maintaining the status quo,” Clinton wrote.
Clinton added that times have changed, and he believes the country is ready for more gun control.
“The 2018 elections, thanks to the passionate activism of citizen groups across the country, proved that it’s a different world now,” he said. “Today members of Congress will be supported if they reinstate the assault-weapons and large-ammunition magazine bans.”