[Mb-civic] EDITORIAL Blood on the NRA's Hands LATimes

Michael Butler michael at michaelbutler.com
Mon Sep 13 17:47:34 PDT 2004



Blood on the NRA's Hands

 September 13, 2004

 Perhaps you remember Evan Foster. The 7-year-old was murdered in an
Inglewood park in December 1997, just after he picked up his soccer trophy.
Three of the 75 rounds fired from a gang member's assault rifle drilled into
his head. The federal assault weapons ban was already in effect, and if you
asked the National Rifle Assn. and its acolytes in Congress about Evan's
murder, they would eagerly tell you that this law, which lawmakers have
shamefully let expire today, would not have saved the child.

 They would be right ‹ and utterly deceitful.

 Evan, his mother and his 10-month-old brother, Alec, had gotten back into
their parked car when Rhonda Foster saw she was sandwiched between a vehicle
full of gang members, their rifles pointed, and another car in which the
shooters mistakenly thought they saw a rival. Evan was hit as his mother
frantically tried to back out of the way. He died instantly. Fragments from
some of the dozen rounds that strafed their car hit Alec, leaving the vision
in his left eye limited.

 NRA leaders, who have been gunning for the assault weapons ban since it
took effect in 1994, would quickly point out that the MAC-90 that killed
Evan wasn't among the handful of models covered by the federal law. That's
true. The ban's author, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), never believed
that law alone would end assault gun crime. That's why she pushed Congress
over the years to limit the sale of high-volume bullet magazines, for
tougher oversight of gun dealers and to expand the ban to guns with certain
generic features, like flash suppressors. Guess which group blocked her
every effort? 

 Even if the MAC-90 had been included in the federal ban, the NRA would
argue, the law obviously failed to stop illegal traffic in assault guns.
True again. Yet by that logic, legislators should drop laws against driving
drunk because some people are so irresponsible they will drink and drive

 A large majority of Americans ‹ and most gun owners ‹ have steadfastly
supported the assault gun ban. So why did Congress let it die, allowing
dealers to once more peddle these weapons of mass destruction?

 Look to President Bush, who once said he supported the ban. His deliberate
silence as the law's time ran out justified congressional leaders in arguing
that if the president wasn't behind the prohibition, there was no point in
voting to renew it. So today the expired ban is a trophy Bush can lay at the
NRA's feet as the group readies its presidential endorsement.

 Rhonda and Ruett Foster still have Evan's soccer trophy. Rhonda talks
freely about her son, about a poem he wrote, the sports he liked. But last
week, telling the story of his horrific murder yet again, there was anger in
her voice. 

 "For our president to follow the NRA instead of the majority of America,"
she said quietly, "shows that he doesn't care about the lives of our
children. Letting this ban expire means more of these weapons will be
available. It's outrageous."

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 Copyright 2004 Los Angeles Times

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