Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Assault weapon ban talk increases guns sales
Although the "reporter" seems sometimes confused between semi and full automatics (and other blunders), this report from michigan is a state-of-the art example of media bias...and/or simple incompetence...on the subject. Despite its good points, this is still something we can't afford...
Assault weapon ban talk increases guns sales
By Dan Cherry
ADRIAN TWP., Mich. -
John Sprague, the store manager at Johnson’s Sporting Goods in Adrian Township, gestures to half-empty shelves of ammunition behind the counter.
He said a campaign pledge by President Barack Obama to reinstate a weapons ban led to a rush on sporting goods stores to buy guns and ammunition, a buying trend that continues.
“Since before the election, when there was a good chance of (Obama) becoming president, sales went way up,” Sprague said Thursday. “I can’t keep most ammunition in stock.”
Because of demand, Sprague said, Johnson’s is temporarily limiting ammunition sales to one box of per customer.
Obama had pledged during his campaign to seek renewal of an assault weapons ban but has bowed to the reality that such a move would be unpopular in politically key U.S. states and among Republicans as well as some conservative Democrats.
Confronting a Mexican drug war that is “sowing chaos in our communities,” Obama signaled on April 16 that he will not seek renewal of the weapons ban, but instead will step up enforcement of laws banning the transfer of such guns across the border.
“He (President Obama) appears to be backing down, but sales are brisk,” Sprague said.
An Adrian Wal-Mart associate, who spoke Friday on the condition of anonymity, said the sporting goods department has difficulty keeping the 550-round boxes of .22-caliber ammunition in stock due to brisk sales. The smaller boxes of rounds, however, are more readily available.
“People want the large boxes,” she said.
A representative in the Adrian Meijer sporting goods department, who also declined to be identified, said he hasn’t seen a significant increase in ammunition sales since the election, and there is no rationing in effect at the store.
Signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994, the Federal Assault Weapons Ban prohibited the sale of ammunition clips with more than 10 rounds and a variety of rifles such as semi-automatic versions of AK-47s and AR-15s. Semi-automatic rifles fire a bullet each time the trigger is pulled. They differ from automatic rifles, which fire continuously as long as the trigger is pulled.(i.e.:"machineguns"-S9) Automatic rifles are illegal without a federal permit, and must be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The ban expired in 2004 during President George W. Bush’s administration, and a 10-year extension proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., was voted down.
The difference between what defined assault from otherwise legal weapons, Sprague said, was optional accessories. Those included bayonet mounts, magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and gun flash suppressors. Except for those additions, Sprague added, there was no mechanical difference between those rifles being legal or illegal during the ban.
Sometimes all it takes to make an illegal weapon legal, such as a 9 mm LAR-15, is to have two or more of those options removed from the instrument.
Sheriff Jack Welsh said problems with assault weapons in Lenawee County haven’t been an issue, before, during or after the ban.
“I saw no concrete evidence that the ban ever significantly reduced violent crimes,” he said. “Legitimate gun owners register their weapons. Unfortunately, whether there is a ban or not, some individuals will find ways to get weapons that are illegal.”
Welsh added he is against any fully automatic weapons being possessed or sold, and is in favor of background checks for any weapons purchased. He added that, if the Obama administration attempts to reinstate an assault weapons ban, he will pay close attention to the issue.
Sprague said FBI crime statistics show most crimes aren’t committed with assault weapons.
“Besides, most criminals cannot afford these types of guns,” Sprague added, pointing to rifles with price tags of more than $1,000.
Cambridge Township Police Chief Larry Wibbeler said he also never saw any increase or decrease in violent crime during or after the ban, adding the criminals who are after the assault rifles will usually locate them through illegal purchase or theft.
“If they (the criminals) want them, they’ll find a way to get them,” he said.
Wibbeler said very few fully automatic assault weapons have ever been confiscated in Cambridge Township.