End of weapons ban no loss, sellers say
Thursday, September 09, 2004
THE SAGINAW NEWS
Go ahead: Affix that bayonet to your folding-stock AK-47. While you're at it, why not clip in that brand new 15-round magazine?
A federal assault-weapons ban ending Monday legalizes it all, and firearm experts say prices of in-demand high-capacity magazines could drop.
But they also say the 10-year Clinton-era restriction -- largely aimed at manufacturers of magazines and other military-style features -- was mostly a political move.
"It was feel-good law," said Doug Williams, manager at of Dick Williams Gun Shop, 4985 Cole in Spaulding Township. "I don't think it will have much impact on crime either."
Sale and use of magazines carrying more than 10 rounds have remained legal, although many already avoided larger clips, which are more prone to jam, experts say.
Meanwhile, collectors may now legally mount on their semi-automatic assault rifles the serrated knives used in hand-to-hand combat.
"I haven't heard of anyone getting bayoneted lately," cracked Denny Smith, salesman at Dick Williams.
While they now sell for $45 to $65 apiece, 15-round magazines becoming legal may drive the price to as low as $25, Doug Williams said.
"The price structure on a certain high-capacity magazine will plummet," he said.
Magazine manufacturers mass produced "thousands and thousands and thousands" of over-10-round clips in the run-up to the ban's 1994 start, said Sue Bare, owner of Bare's, a shooting sports retailer at 104 W. Water in St. Charles.
"They're all completely legal to buy, own, sell and use, so it didn't matter --not up here anyway," she said. "We're not out here in firefights."
Despite the ban's lack of teeth, gun enthusiasts remain ardent opponents, said Glen C. Duncan, owner of Duncan's Sports Shop in Bay City .
The shop carries very few AK-47s or SKS assault rifles.
"They're classics," Duncan said.
"If (the ban) doesn't do anything, why have it? It's just taking away one more of our freedoms."
The law banned 19 types of assault weapons but included a "sunset" clause that said it would expire in 10 years without a Congressional renewal.
President Bush has vowed to sign an extension, but Republican leaders said Congress will not vote to extend the ban.
Gun-control advocates want an extension of the ban and also expanded background checks on gun purchasers to include sales by private collectors at gun shows and flea markets.
"We are always obviously concerned when there are unnecessary guns that are on the streets --which has nothing to do with people's right to bear arms," said Tom McIntyre, head of Saginaw County Central Dispatch and former sheriff.
"That has been the difficult balance of justice," he said. "Unfortunately, not to decide is to decide. By their lack of action, they are prepared to allow this." t
Joe Snapper is a staff writer for The Saginaw News. You may reach him at 776-9715.
The assclown dispatcher had to go and make a stupid dem statement to screw up the story, though.