January 26, 1995 in Nation/World

Gingrich Says House Likely To Reverse Assault Weapon Ban

Cox News Service

Speaker Newt Gingrich said Wednesday the House would likely vote to repeal the 1994 ban on sales of several types of assault weapons.

An effort to repeal the assault weapons ban seems “inevitable,” said Gingrich, who opposes the ban.

“It is very unlikely that we would stop such a bill from moving through the House,” Gingrich said. “Whether or not it would get through the Senate, I don’t know.”

But Gingrich made clear he hopes to put the vote off until “spring or summer” rather than have a socially divisive issue interrupt the Republicans’ work on their 10-plank Contract with America.

One of those planks calls for revision of the 1994 crime bill, and opponents of gun control are eager to amend that bill to repeal the ban.

In his State of the Union speech Tuesday, President Clinton signaled he would veto any effort to repeal the moratorium on future sales of some types of assault weapons or any weakening of the waiting period for handgun purchases.

But the National Rifle Association, which spent $1.6 million on the 1994 congressional campaigns, has made it clear that it will push for repeal, and it has powerful allies in Congress.

Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Tex., a GOP presidential candidate; Sen. Lauch Faircloth, R-N.C., and new House Minority Whip Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Tex., for example, applauded loudly Wednesday when Clinton mentioned that some House members lost their seats in last November’s elections partly because of the gun bills.

Rather than a repeal of the Brady Bill’s waiting period on handgun purchases, Gingrich said he supports expediting the creation of national computer system to allow an instant background check on buyers.

“I think that most people would agree that if we can build that technology pretty rapidly, then the Brady Bill ceases to matter,” he said.

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