There are literally hundreds of bills that get introduced in Congress, or thousands if you count the legislatures of the several states, each legislative session. Most of them aren’t going anywhere. Every Congress since the Assault Weapons Ban expired have had a bill to renew, and an even worse bill. They are typically introduced by the usual suspects, and will languish in committee, never to see the light of day. The mere introduction of a bill means nothing.
When to start worrying is if you see a sudden surge in legislators co-sponsoring a bill. When you start approaching a majority, or large majority of the house co-sponsoring a bill, that increasing the likelihood that the bill will get a hearing in committee. The time to start worrying about a new assault weapons ban is if one of the introduced bills gets a committee hearing. If there was going to be a time I’d suggest buying, that would be the time.
Even if a bill gets a hearing, it doesn’t mean it will be passed out of the committee on to the floor. The committee chairs decide what gets a hearing, and what does not. The Chairman of the Committee that handles things like assault weapons bans is John Conyers, and probably will be in the 111th Congress as well. The composition of the committee makes it challenging for us, but we have yet to see a bill get a hearing in this Congress.
We do keep track of this stuff, and if it looks like things are going against us, you’ll hear it on the blogosphere first.