In 5 days (Sep. 13), the ten-year ban on assault weapons will expire (or sunset) if the Republican-controlled Congress and President George W. Bush do not act to renew the legislation. President Bush promised during his 2000 campaign to renew the ban and while he claims to still support it, powerful Republican Reps. Dennis Hastert and Tom Delay say they haven't heard from him to pass the bill. This political doublespeak will cost thousands of lives if the ban is not renewed. Sen. Diane Feinstein, who sponsored the bill ten years ago, adds she is doubtful the ban will pass due to pressure from NRA.For important facts about why this ban is so important, check out the Brady Campaign.You can also take action by writing and calling your Congressmen urging them to support this bill or flood Bush's email box.Also sign a petition started by Tom Mauser, who's son was killed during Columbine by an assault weapon.Also read a great fiction book by Richard North Patterson called Balance of Power that takes readers through the an in-depth and realistic look legislative and lobbing wrangling over gun control. It has great insights and helps educate readers about how backroom deals are cut and how bills are passed (or not) better than most non-fiction I've read.
Tracy Van Slyke, a former publisher of In These Times, is the project director for The Media Consortium.