Major Republican Donor Will Only Support Candidates Who Back Assault Weapon Ban
Al Hoffman Jr., a Florida-based real estate developer who was a leading fund-raiser for George W. Bush's campaigns, said he would seek to marshal support among other Republican political donors for a renewed assault weapons ban.
NYT (“Prominent Republican Donor Issues Ultimatum on Assault Weapons“):
A prominent Republican political donor demanded on Saturday that the party pass legislation to restrict access to guns, and vowed not to contribute to any candidates or electioneering groups that did not support a ban on the sale of military-style firearms to civilians.
Al Hoffman Jr., a Florida-based real estate developer who was a leading fund-raiser for George W. Bush’s campaigns, said he would seek to marshal support among other Republican political donors for a renewed assault weapons ban.
“For how many years now have we been doing this — having these experiences of terrorism, mass killings — and how many years has it been that nothing’s been done?” Mr. Hoffman said in an interview. “It’s the end of the road for me.”
My longstanding view on this is that “assault weapons” are poorly defined and that banning them would have little impact on the mass killing epidemic. It’s not obvious how an AR-15 with a 10-round magazine is any more dangerous than a Glock 21 with a 13-round magazine. Is there evidence that the type of people who own military-style weapons are more prone to violence than those who own handguns? That certain weapons are disproportionately used in spree shootings?
Still, while I think an “assault weapon” ban would mostly be a feel-good measure to make us think we’re doing something to solve gun violence, the symbolic gesture may be worthwhile. I’m not sure that banning a handful of gun models, larger-capacity magazines, or requiring mental health checks would actually prevent or deter these atrocities. But maybe simply sending a message that we’re tired of the violence and the culture that worships these weapons more than the lives of its children will start us down the road to more serious measures.