Most other companies simply enjoyed the newfound sales that came from free Americans wanting to buy something the government didn’t want them to have. AR-15 patterned rifles that bore a cosmetic similarity (though not the select-fire functionality) to the military M-16 changed a few features and suddenly became prolific sellers. Existing manufacturers and importers of military-style weapons increased capacity, and new manufacturers sprung up like mushrooms after a spring rain. AR-15 pattern firearms became the most popular firearms in America, and the “modern sporting rifle” (as some in the shooting sports industry have tried to dub it, with mixed results) is now ubiquitous.
By the time the ban expired in 2004, it was a total failure. It did not reduce crime (such firearms were rarely used in crimes anyway), and the backlash against the ban “mainstreamed” the very firearms they attempted to render criminal. Nonetheless, it remained a hot-button issue on the left, where it has remained simmering as a near-forgotten issue for eight sad years. There is no support for it in the House and Senate, and there is no chance a new ban would make it out of committee.
Not a single soul expected Barack Obama to bring up the idea of reinstating this failed law. It was an act of political suicide.
The National Rifle Association, the nation’s leading gun rights organization, says that it is too soon after the debate to see any specific polling impact, but anecdotal evidence of a backlash against the president is already flowing in. A spokesperson for the group told PJ Media that the president’s anti-gun statement may cost him dearly.
Independents shoot AR-15s and AK-pattern rifles. Union members hunt. Feminists own handguns.
In one moment, President Obama offended 90 million gun owners to varying degrees. In an election where Barack Obama needs high voter turnout if he hopes to blunt a surging Romney (who now boasts a seven-point advantage), he’s sabotaged himself in the all-important swing states where gun ownership is high.
There is no information suggesting that Obama’s statement will “flip” votes from him to Romney, but anecdotal evidence suggests that Democrats and independents that could have been persuaded to cast a vote for the president are reconsidering.