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Posted: 9/21/2004 4:16:46 PM EST
It's over... we won... give it up already. The AWB is gone... finished... history... a lost cause. Cry about it... kick the dog... take it out on the wife... scream at the TV... blame it on Bush. Go home... take a long vacation... enjoy a well deserved rest. Walk bare foot in the sand... smell the roses... enjoy a sunset... take a bubble bath.

See you next season when we can do it all over again.

"Assault weapons buyers breathe a collectible sigh
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
By GARY BROWN

Thanks to the end of the U.S. ban on assault weapons, I now am legally able to own a “Street Sweeper” or a “Striker 12” revolving-cylinder semiautomatic shotgun.

That somehow reassures me. My neighbors might be nervous.

The guns, as the Associated Press explained last week, are among 19 types of military-style assault weapons previously outlawed in the United States. No longer am I limited by law to 10 rounds — 10 shots at it worries me what — and I’m also allowed to own a firearm that has a bayonet mount.

Testosterone is flowing freely in America again.

“But, gun sellers and manufacturers say they do not expect to see any immediate surge in orders for the weapons,” the Associated Press reported.

Immediate? Does that mean that possibly down the road a Jehovah’s Witness might ring a doorbell, then be forced to roll up an explanation of his religious beliefs and stick it down the barrel of an AK-47?

Probably not. Gun sellers believe that the major market for assault weapons is collectors. An assault weapon collection sort of puts my Lincoln head penny collection to shame. It makes me feel a tad less manly than a guy who has a set of automatic weapons that some “Price Guide to Collectible Assault Rifles” might note “are designed to fire many bullets over a wide area in seconds.” Stamp collecting suddenly seems a bit wimpy, as well.

I’m certainly not trying to be critical of gun collecting. I’ve had enough collections myself over the years that noncollectors might find odd. It’s just that I can trace the origin of those collections. I got started collecting those little pencils with the names of golf courses on them because I played golf. Do you begin collecting assault weapons because your related hobby is guerrilla warfare or sniper firing?

How do you decide to begin an assault weapon collection? Do you once get an SWD M-10 for Christmas, then every year after that write down M-11, M-11-9 or M-12 on your family’s gift exchange list?

“If you can’t find any of those at Wal-Mart, I’m also looking for a Beretta AR-70 and SC-70 ...”

Now, for most people who will be collecting such guns, the lifting of the ban on assault weapons will just give them something besides vacation slides to help make guests uneasy at the next dinner party.

“Finish your dessert and we’ll all go into the other room and pass around the family’s new Uzi.”

But, in my mind, there can be a fine line between collecting for display and gathering for use. And I worry that the admittedly rare individual who does the latter, the kind of guy who is one perceived slight away from opening fire on bystanders, will turn up packing something that will give him more than 10 shots at crowds in my shopping mall.

Gun manufacturers claim I have nothing to fear. “For one thing, the gun industry says, weapons very similar to those banned have been legally available over the past decade,” the Associated Press reported last week.

I’m not exactly sure how possessing that knowledge is supposed to somehow make me feel at ease. But then, I suppose that owning a Colt AR-15, like learning karate, can make you calm and confident, as long as no one cuts in front of you in the gun-shop line.

You can reach Repository Living Editor Gary Brown at (330) 580-8303 or e-mail:

gary.brown@cantonrep.com

www.cantonrep.com/index.php?Category=26&ID=183374&r=0
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