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Keep assault-weapons ban in the bill

FOR years, ... the Republican Party has prided itself on being tough on crime.

But this year President Clinton ... pulled a fast switch on the Republicans. He introduced a tough crime bill, and Democrats on Capitol Hill proceeded to make it even tougher.

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That put GOP lawmakers in a difficult bind. If they voted for the bill, they would hand Clinton and the Democrats a victory that could be a big help to the party's candidates in the November elections. Or they could oppose the bill, and risk being labeled as obstructionists.

The Republican leadership opted for the latter course. And, in so doing, the GOP picked up some strange allies - many Democrats opposed to the bill's death-penalty provisions and others dead set against its ban on 19 semiautomatic assault weapons...

There's strong pressure to drop the ban on assault weapons.

Americans have a right to own guns for hunting, for target shooting and, yes, for protecting their homes and families. But the assault weapons that would be banned under the crime bill have only one purpose: to kill people.

We urge the House not to drop the ban on assault weapons.

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