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Posted: 5/17/2003 1:38:44 PM EDT
You people need to put aside your petty differences with Bush and support the assault weapon ban and get on the winning team. Anything else is just throwing your vote away. [url=www.greatfallstribune.com/news/stories/20030515/opinion/302971.html]Listen to Bush, extend assault weapon ban[/url] Nine years ago Congress banned the manufacture and importation of semiautomatic assault weapons. Though the law enjoyed huge public support, it was actively opposed by one of the most powerful lobbies in the country, the National Rifle Association. The ban expires next year. Legislation is in the works to extend the law. President George Bush says he'll sign such a bill, providing it doesn't include newer, harsher gun controls. We applaud Bush's support and urge Congress to get a suitable bill passed. There's simply no compelling reason to open the door to more of these weapons. Known by many as "cop-killers" because so many were used in gang-related crimes against police, assault weapons can fire up to six bullets a minute. Most were designed for military use -- not for hunting or sporting purposes. They comprised only 1 percent of the of the guns privately owned, yet accounted for more than 8 percent of guns traced to crimes in a four-year span before the ban. So why would anyone want to own a semiautomatic weapon? AWbansunset.com, an online forum that supports elimination of the ban, says this: "Military style rifles are well designed and very reliable. They are fun and economical to shoot. They can be easily 'customized.' "They are accurate and they can also provide an effective defense for yourself and your loved ones. The real question should be: Why wouldn't you want to own one?" Well, we can think of a few reasons. But even with the ban, it's not illegal to own assault weapons. In what many see as a huge loophole, the 1994 ban specifically excluded those weapons already on the street. That means tens of thousands -- perhaps far more -- of assault weapons are legally in people's gun cabinets right now. Because of that, it's difficult to prove that the ban has made much of dent in crime. But we do know that after the first President Bush banned importation of some types of assault weapons in 1989, the number of crimes attributed to imported assault weapons dropped 45 percent in a year. Gun-control advocates may be able to make good arguments for even strengthening the ban. But that debate is best reserved for later. For now, the ban should be extended. It's not an issue that affects hunters or even most recreational shooters. And there still are plenty assault weapons out there for those who want them. We just don't need more. A White House spokesman said the ban was meant to deter crime and that Bush "felt it was responsible." He's right on target. Montana's congressional members should work with their colleagues to extend this responsible ban.
Link Posted: 5/17/2003 2:03:12 PM EDT
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