My letter to this clueless person:
Your article in the Monday, September 13, 2004 edition of the AJC was so full of distortions and lies that I am surprised that a reputable newspaper such as the AJC would print it.
First, the ban covered so-called "semiautomatic assault weapons", not assault rifles. The so-called "semiautomatic assault weapons" are semiautomatic. This means having to pull the trigger for each round. They cannot "fire dozens of bullets in seconds using magazines that hold more than 100 rounds". First, they cannot fire that fast and second, no one that I know of makes a magazine that holds more than 100 rounds. I do believe that some magazines exist that hold right at 100 rounds, but they are rare. The most common magazines hold 30 rounds. A group of experimented and found that with our semiauto could empty a 30 round magazine in about 14 seconds at the quickest and that was completely inaccurate fire.
Assault rifle, such as an M16 with a selector switch (known as select fire) for semi, burst, and full auto, IS an assault rifle, but what the ban covered were not assault rifles. The term "semiautomatic assault weapon" was created to cause confusion between the two, and it seems to have worked, based on your article.
The caption on the picture in the article is both hilarious and infuriating to anyone who knows anything about guns. An AR15 semiautomatic is, while looking like an M16, not an assault rifle. Silencers were not governed by this expired law, nor were fully automatic guns of any kind, including assault rifles. Those are all still covered under the National Firearms Act of 1934.
One can buy a MAK-90, which looks like an AK47, but is semiautomatic while the AK47 is full auto. The list goes on. These semiautomatic guns LOOK like certain fully automatic firearms and that was the crux of the entire law. They looked "scary" to those who have no clue.
As for the polls showing most Americans favor extending the ban, that is a lie. The polls were taken using demographics that would insure those results. If that was the case, why did passage of the bill in 1994 cost the Democrats control of Congress? It also contributed to Al Gore's defeat in 2000. Polls can be wrong, they are all the time. Besides, it doesn't matter what the polls say, our representative form of government is designed just for that reason, so that we don't live under a "majority rules" system. If that had been the case, many civil rights causes would have never achieved anything. I am sure that in the 1950s, most Americans opposed desegregation. Did that make segregation correct? No, it didn't. If you and others were trying to take away a Constitutional right from any other segment of the population, there would hell to pay, but since it is just is politically incorrect, evil gun owners, it is okay to demonize us.
Chief Pennington is either a liar or a fool. The ban didn't limit criminals from getting any weapon they wanted. That is why they are criminals. The only people that law affected are the ones who weren't the problem to begin with, those who obey the law. For him to say that the ban kept criminals from getting guns is an outright lie and he, as a public servant, should be held accountable for it. If he is tired of "picking up young bodies", maybe he and his force should attack the real problem, the criminals pulling the triggers. For the most part, those committing the crimes already have criminal convictions and are not supposed to possess guns of any kind, yet they do. Sure, the ban really kept the lid on them. What lies.
The second picture in the article shows a 9mm pistol (not a rifle) with a silencer on it. Again, neither silencers nor full autos were part of this ban. The caption also says many officers want the ban renewed. Maybe many do, but most don't. Poll the average street cop both inside and outside the city limits of Atlanta. The vast majority of officers either don't want it renewed or don't care, because they know that what Pennington says about the "assault weapons" is a lie. I know quite a few officers and I also poll officers that I meet. So far, only about 10 percent favor renewing and that is most likely because it doesn't affect them and they think they should have better stuff that the lowly citizen. One actually said that to me.
Fools like Pennington say that these guns are the "weapons of choice of criminals". The street officers know better. Again, asking officers I know and polling ones I don't know, out of 153 replies, only one said the the type of weapons covered under the ban was used in a crime.
FBI figures show that you are more likely to be beaten to death with a baseball bat that killed with a rifle of any kind, including so- called "assault weapons". Also, the AR15 type rifles are very expensive, $750 and up. Criminals, especially gang-bangers, don't go for the high priced weapons. Plus, an AR15 type rifle is not concealable and you can't shorten them without damaging their ability to function correctly.
In fact, shotguns are used some 40 to 50 times more in crimes than so-called "assault weapons", check the FBI figures. Yet, there is no outcry to outlaw them. No, that would upset the skeet shooters and duck hunters who have declined to join us in our fight against these ridiculous laws. A perfect example is Mr. Gunter at the Gwinnett gun show. Another clueless duck hunter who can't see the big picture. They don't seem to understand that they are next. His clueless comment about the police being outgunned by so-called "assault weapons" is just that, totally clueless. For that matter, most who own these types of guns, would be very quick to come to the aid of an officer and use the so-called "assault weapon" to help subdue a bad guy.
John Kerry made it a point show himself skeet shooting with a shotgun, yet left the campaign trial to vote to renew the "assault weapons" ban. Sheer hypocricy.
Have you ever seen the mess a shotgun makes in close quarters. Well, you don't want to, for it is far messier that any of the so-called "assault weapons" would be.
I don't expect you to really read this e-mail and I expect you to keep printing the lies of people like Pennington and the clueless bleeting of sheep like Mr. Gunter.
I realize this letter is not very diplomatic, nor is it meant to be. Being diplomatic and compromising with gun control fanatics is what got us this feel-good, do-nothing law in the first place. I really don't expect you to give this letter much consideration, as to do so would require that you admit that you didn't check your facts and just repeated the same old left wing rhetoric. I have found that people like you are loathe to admit they are wrong and rarely do so.
I am very angry over the lies that have been put forth both in the broadcast media and the print media over the last few days by journalist who are either clueless or have an agenda, probably both, so the tone of this letter is actually quite mild, given the absolute garbage that is being spewed about me and my fellow gun owners.
The bottom line is criminals don't obey laws. They will illegally modify a gun to full auto, regardless of the law. More laws have no effect on them, they just disarm the rest of us and get some in trouble who inadvertantly run afoul of some technicality that they weren't aware of.
I suggest you take the time to find out who own these so-called "assault weapons". You will be very surprised, based on the your comments. Well over half of us are college educated and most have very well paying, professional careers.
I will offer this one olive branch. I will invite you to go to a group shoot at a public range. I promise you we will be our normal, courteous selves and will try to politely educate you on the facts about these types of guns. You might even have some fun. Seriously, we look forward to chances to educate those who have only heard one side of the story. We really are nice folks, but the last few days have been wearing on my nerves as I know it has on some of my fellow gun owners. I resent the implications made about those of us who own these guns.