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California and the West | CAMPAIGN '98 : SEE HOW THEY
SPIN: Behind the TV Pitch

Boxer Takes a Shot at Fong's Gun Stance

October 08, 1998|JENIFER WARREN

Locked in a tight reelection battle, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer is running a television ad depicting Republican challenger Matt Fong, California's Treasurer, as the preferred candidate of gun organizations.

The script: This is a Saturday Night Special. It's the favorite gun of street criminals. This is an assault weapon. It's the favorite gun of drug dealers. This is Matt Fong. He's the gun lobby's favorite candidate for the Senate. Because he's against new bans on Saturday Night Specials and assault weapons. And this is Senator Barbara Boxer. She's pushing for tough bans on Saturday Night Specials and assault weapons. That's why she's the favorite Senate candidate of California police. Barbara Boxer. The right direction for California.

Analysis: The "gun lobby" has not called Fong its "favorite" candidate, but he is endorsed by the California Rifle and Pistol Assn., the state affiliate of the National Rifle Assn.--the nation's leading foe of gun control laws.

Fong says he supports a ban on "unsafe handguns," but not a blanket prohibition on "Saturday night specials." He supported the 1994 federal ban on 19 forms of semiautomatic assault weapons, but does not wish to expand the ban to new categories of guns.

Boxer authored a bill to ban Saturday night specials that is still pending in the U.S. Senate. She has also supported most other gun control measures, including a bill to ban the import of large capacity ammunition devices.

Boxer is endorsed by the California Organization of Police and Sheriffs, which represents police and sheriff departments, and the National Assn. of Police Organizations. Fong is endorsed by the California Correctional Peace Officers Assn., a union of prison guards, as well as groups representing police chiefs, elected county sheriffs and narcotics officers.

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