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BUSH SHOULD MAKE SURE ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN IS EXTENDED

Assault weapons do not belong in a civilized society. It is as simple as that. . . .

President Bush says he knows this. He says he favors an extension of the 1994 assault weapons ban which must be renewed next year. But it's going to take some of his political muscle to get it to the floor of the House of Representatives and get it passed. If he refuses to do that, Majority Leader Tom DeLay says the House will never vote on the extension. The president should not be allowed to say he favors the ban as most Americans do while winking at the National Rifle Association and allowing DeLay to prevent it. . . .

This much we do know: In the first eight months of 1995 following the ban there were 18 percent fewer assault weapons traced to crimes than in the first eight months of 1994. . . .

No good can come from allowing the ban to lapse. But presidential adviser Karl Rove said last week that's likely what will happen. President Bush should prove him wrong.

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