Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole backed away Tuesday from his promises to help repeal a 1994 federal ban on some assault weapons, saying the nation had “moved beyond the debate” over whether to outlaw them.
His campaign spokesman said repeal was no longer on “candidate Dole’s agenda”; Dole instead will emphasize the need to computerize records in all 50 states to allow instant criminal background checks for gun-buyers, a provision of the Brady gun law.
Dole’s climbdown from his May 1995 pledge as thenSenate Majority Leader to the National Rifle Association to repeal “the ill-conceived gun ban” ended a retreat that began soon after he sewed up the nomination fight last March. Some public opinion polls have consistently shown that 70 percent or more of Americans favor keeping the ban in place.
Addressing Republicans and state and county troopers, Dole Tuesday singled out a Virginia database that allows 3,600 federally licensed gun dealers to check the criminal backgrounds of would-be gun owners in two to three minutes.