Perhaps you remember Evan Foster. The 7-year-old was murdered in an Inglewood park in December 1997, just after he picked up his soccer trophy. Three of the 75 rounds fired from a gang member's assault rifle drilled into his head. The federal assault weapons ban was already in effect, and if you asked the National Rifle Assn. and its acolytes in Congress about Evan's murder, they would eagerly tell you that this law, which lawmakers have shamefully let expire today, would not have saved the child.
They would be right -- and utterly deceitful.
Evan, his mother and his 10-month-old brother, Alec, had gotten back into their parked car when Rhonda Foster saw she was sandwiched between a vehicle full of gang members, their rifles pointed, and another car in which the shooters mistakenly thought they saw a rival. Evan was hit as his mother frantically tried to back out of the way. He died instantly. Fragments from some of the dozen rounds that strafed their car hit Alec, leaving the vision in his left eye limited.
NRA leaders, who have been gunning for the assault weapons ban since it took effect in 1994, would quickly point out that the MAC-90 that killed Evan wasn't among the handful of models covered by the federal law. That's true. The ban's author, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), never believed that law alone would end assault gun crime. That's why she pushed Congress over the years to limit the sale of high-volume bullet magazines, for tougher oversight of gun dealers and to expand the ban to guns with certain generic features, like flash suppressors. Guess which group blocked her every effort?