A reader who describes himself as a retired law enforcement officer writes:

“I did not vote for Clinton in either election, however, I do wish to correct a common mistake made by Mas Ayoob and the firearms proponents. While Clinton did enact the Brady Bill, limiting the magazine capacity and changing the form (the way they could look) of firearms, the ‘Assault Weapons Ban’ that Mas speaks of was enacted by George the First. Bush One banned more firearms with the stroke of a pen than Clinton did in eight years. I don’t know why firearms writers and proponents continue to credit this action to Clinton, he might have wished for it, but he did not father it. The Brady Law sunsetted a number of years ago and has not significantly changed the way Law Abiding citizens own or purchase firearms. I can still own my MAC10, buy ammo for it and get the magazines I need to keep it running. Bush One and Two have hurt my firearm experience more than Clinton ever did. At least under him, I could still buy cases of .45 ACP for under a hundred bucks. With the other two, I can no longer buy new DaeWoo rifles and other foreign made firearms or get ammo at prices that are affordable to shoot. Thanks for your time.”

Wow. I think some respectful corrections may be in order.

Going chronologically, the crackdown on full auto weapons that limited licensed civilian purchase to those already in the stream of civilian commerce in 1986 was not enacted during any of the above-named Presidencies. It goes back to that year, when Ronald Reagan was President.

George Herbert Walker Bush can indeed bear blame for banning the importation of “assault weapons,” but certainly not of all foreign made firearms. Gun owners saw it as a betrayal, and voted against him in sufficient numbers to give him a margin of defeat that ushered in the Bill Clinton years.

The Brady Bill involved waiting periods and background checks for purchases. It had nothing to do with banning any kind of firearm.

The Assault Weapons Ban was indeed a Clinton thing, and very much a pet project of both Bill and Hillary Clinton. I am as grateful as our reader that it reached its sunset, under the administration of George Walker Bush, who could have pushed to extend it, but didn’t.

Any number of foreign made firearms are still available in this country, of course. The current increase in ammunition prices, as I’ve mentioned in the pages of Backwoods Home, is due only in part to military ammunition needs fueled by the War on Terror. It comes more from grotesquely skyrocketing prices of materials such as lead, brass, and particularly copper due to massive construction projects in other parts of the world, particularly China. It’s not something that the current administration, or any other, had power to control.

We may respectfully disagree, bro, but thanks for taking the time to write. Thanks for your service to the public. I’m glad you made it to retirement.


  1. At this moment in time I feel it is more crucial to be looking to the future rather than debating the past. Either McCain or Obama is going to be our next president and whether you love him or hate him,John McCain is the only acceptable nominee regarding gun rights. Those of us who live in Illinois are very familiar with Obama’s radical leftist view on gun control.If Obama gets elected AND you have a Dem controlled Congress,you can kiss a HUGE chunk of your gun rights good-bye.

    Dan W.

  2. Com’on Mass, I told you I was in a bad mood that day!

    Thanks for the response though.