John Locher / AP
The New York Times Former Vice President Joe Biden has made the case for going back to a nationwide ban on assault weapons and making it "even stronger."
Some have had with quizzical expressions: "Back?" "Stronger?"
Yes. Twenty five years ago, when Biden was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Congress passed the "Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act"
It banned the manufacture or the civil use of certain semi-automatic weapons that could be converted to fire automatically.
"Assault weapons – military-style firearms are designed to fire rapidly – are a threat to our national security, and we should treat them as search, "Biden wrote in his weekend op-ed.
The earlier ban was enacted as a subsection of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 Democrats were "tough on crime."
Times were different then.
Bots and Democrats were sentenced to criminal punishment by the death penalty.  At the time, Biden defended the legislation against charges of saying "We do everything but hang people for jaywalking in this bill."
Democrats in 1994 so willing to address the
In his Times op-ed, Biden salutes the senator often credited as the architect of the 1994 ban, Dianne Feinstein of California. Democrat Howard Metzenbaum in 1989 after a mass shooting on a schoolyard in Stockton, Calif.
That shooting took the lives of five children and injured
Feinstein's resolve to carry this legislation forward was bolstered when he was killed in another California horror, this time at a law firm in San Francisco.
"It what's the 1993 mass shooting at 101 California Street, "she later said. "What the tipping point for me. That's what really motivated me to push for assault weapons."
, Biden now says it would not clear how that might work.
Sponsors thus accepted a "sunset provision" by which the 1994 ban would automatically expire after 10 Years ago renewed by a vote of Congress. Even so, the ban only got 52 votes in the Senate on its way to inclusion in the overall crime bill, which was signed into law by President Clinton.
The world turns
By the time 18 years.
Republicans by then had held the House for 18 months. The GOP has just increased its numbers in both chambers in the midterm elections of 2002, a political season dominated by anxiety after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.
On top of that, the president in 2004 was George W. Bush, another Republican who was opposed to renewing the ban.
Feinstein and others made some effort to restore the ban that year and over the next several years. When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008 he made renewing the ban part of his agenda. Efforts were mounted again after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shoot in December of 2012, but none bore fruit.
Sandy Hook attracted 12 fewer votes in the Senate than Feinstein had mustered in an attempt to renew the ban in 2004.
Charlie Neibergall / AP
Biden has come to rue much about the 1994 legislation.
It has been reviled as a "mass incarceration" that has been disproportionately injurious to African Americans.
But in 1994, the mid-term elections were resumed.
The midterm elections
Adding in the blowback over the assault weapons ban – especially intense in the rural south and west – turned the midterm into a debacle for Democrats.
Among those defeated that fall what 42-year veteran Jack Brooks, a Texas Democrat who had been chairman of the Judiciary Committee Judiciary Committee when the crime bill passed.
Brooks had taken to the bill and was a longtime member of the National Rifle Association.
The sense that gun control cost Democrats votes intensified after the 2000 presidential election. That year's Democratic nominee, vice president Al Gore of Tennessee, could not carry his home State or other swing states won by the Clinton-Gore ticket in the 1990s.
Gore pays a price for his stances on coal and other issues
In 2004, when the Republican Congress refused to renew the assault weapons ban, the Democrats' presidential nominee was Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who sought to style himself as a hunter and gun owner but nonetheless So, the ban and its renewal.
The Electoral College that year looked like a lot in 2000, and Kerry could have had it.
What effect did the ban have?
Today we can look back at the 10 years of the ban
What it did.
What it did.
What did it do? , its defenders reply, which reduce the number of people killed in mass shootings.
Both sides of the debate claim vindication in subsequent research.
One thing is clear: Assault weapons like these were used in the most memorable events that have defined the current era of random massacre, including at Sandy Hook in 2012, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School at Parkland, Fla. in 2018 – and this month in Texas and Ohio.
So they are the emblem of the nation's soul sickness over these tragedies.
So today's Democratic candidates stand in the way of the past costs in the future.
President Trump, for his part, now calls for "strong background checks" for gun purchases but does not call for new restrictions on assault weapons.
"There's no political appetite for it," he says.  Morning Consult and Politico found seven in ten voters, including 54% of Republicans, supported "a ban on assault-style weapons." Even higher percentages supported on high-capacity magazines and a purchase of at least 21 for any gun. The survey, done on Aug. 5-7, included 1,960 interviews and had a margin of error of +/- 2%.
Given that similar percentages supported a shoot after the early 1990s and after the Sandy Hook and Parkland
Whether that would be a long term pattern.
Whether that's the case or not.