I am satisfied that the "Gun Lobby", or at least to be as specific as I can the NRA, did not provide "booby trapped" language for the Assault Weapons bill. I retract and apologize for any statements I've made to the contrary.
As I understand it the NRA explicitly refused to have anything to do with the drafting process. It isn't clear whether they had any influence in the conference committee, but since those changes were minor, a charge of booby-trapping the bill cannot be sustained even there.
It seems that the language of the bill was the best the drafters thought they could do given the political climate.
I further apologize to those who told me something to the effect of the above politely, and whose good faith I was unwilling to accept. I'm afraid the public press on the NRA, culminating in President Bush's resignation, has created such a climate of opinion that I am naturally suspicious of anything those I think of as "gun apologists" say.
I don't know what to do about that, except to listen more carefully and try to distinguish substantive argumentation from what I had thought of as an attempt to pull a fast one.
This is about as much crow as I can eat in public in a single helping, so any comments of the "I told you so" variety are best sent via e-mail.