Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the second Obama cabinet member to get shot down by the White House over the politically sensitive issue of assault weapons. After meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderón, Clinton called for reinstating the U.S. ban on assault weapons–which was passed in 1994 and expired in 2004. “These military-style weapons don’t belong on anybody’s street,” Clinton told NBC. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that he was unaware of “any plans” to push for such a ban–even though Obama had backed one during last year’s campaign. Attorney General Eric Holder endorsed a ban Feb. 25, but was told by the White House to drop the issue, Newsweek says.
The magazine cites “a budding relationship between the gun lobby and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill.” After Holder mentioned the ban, the National Rifle Association sent out action alerts to members and bombarded Hill offices with calls. Sixty-five House Democrats wrote Holder opposing such a ban, while Speaker Nancy Pelosi–echoing the NRA’s mantra on all gun-control issues–said she backed “enforcing the laws we have now.” The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre said Democrats have “learned their lesson” from 1994, when they enacted the ban and subsequently lost control of Congress. The Associated Press reports that concern that the administration could seek a new assault-weapon ban “is driving worried gun owners to stockpile ammunition and cartridge reloading components at such a rate that manufacturers can’t meet demand.”