Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Democracy American Style

Do you think that most people in this country realize that the American version of Democracy (or at least that practiced in the U.S. House of Representatives) involves the ability to allow lawmakers NOT to vote on important, but controversial issues like whether or not we will continue to ban the sale of assault weapons?
GOP Will Let Gun Ban Expire, House Won't Act on Assault Weapons

The Republican-controlled House will not renew the federal ban on Uzis and other semiautomatic weapons, a key leader said yesterday, dealing a significant blow to the campaign to clamp down on gun sales nationwide. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) said most House members are willing to let the ban expire next year. "The votes in the House are not there" to continue the ban, he told reporters.

His spokesman, Stuart Roy, said, "We have no intention of bringing it up" for a vote.

As majority leader, DeLay decides which bills are voted on in the House. Because the 1994 assault weapons ban expires next year, the House and Senate must pass legislation to renew it by Sept. 13, 2004. If Congress does not act, the AK-47 and 18 other types of semiautomatic weapons that were outlawed a decade ago by President Clinton and a Democratic-controlled Congress would be legal again, handing a major victory to the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups.
This is the part that really gets me.
Past votes and an NRA survey of lawmakers before the 2002 elections suggest that a majority of House members oppose renewing the ban, GOP officials said. But several Republicans, who requested anonymity, said some pro-gun GOP leaders worry that if members are forced to into a roll call vote, they might switch under pressure from gun control advocates.

Oh my, we wouldn't want that. Imagine if our Congressional representatives had to come under pressure from their constituents and be held accountable for their vote. Horrors!

Better to let the ban expire without having to vote on it at all. That's democracy, American style!