Paul Brandus: Ronald Reagan Would Demand More Gun Control

Paul Brandus is an award-winning member of the White House press corps who founded West Wing Report in 2009. Follow him on Twitter: @WestWingReport.

...Republicans, at least some of them, used to have the courage and honesty to speak out against assault weapons. The most prominent example, ironically, is the one man today's GOP claims to revere above all: Ronald Reagan.

In May 1994, the former president joined Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford to support a ban on the future manufacture, sale, and possession of assault weapons. In a letter to the House of Representatives, the three leaders said: "This is a matter of vital importance to the public safety… Although assault weapons account for less than 1 percent of the guns in circulation, they account for nearly 10 percent of the guns traced to crime." They continued: "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."

The assault weapons ban passed, a rare defeat for the NRA. But the NRA was able to water the measure down: It would be in place for just 10 years and would not apply to any weapon produced prior to the signing of the bill into law....

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