With the re-election of Barack Obama in 2012, many gun owners fear that gun control may soon return to the political agenda. Speculation about gun control was spurred by comments the president made during the second presidential debate. Obama said, “What I’m trying to do is get a broader conversation about how do we reduce the violence generally, part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced.”
Issues: Since there have been many horrific mass shootings around the country in recent years, many politicians feel that it is time to take action. There are some tragically compelling reasons to keep guns out of the wrong hands. Unfortunately, the assault weapons ban would affect semi-automatic versions of firearms that are significant to gun owners for many reasons. Collectors like to have examples of firearms that are nearly identical to those carried during wars. Gun rights advocates argue that the availability of firearms that are similar to those used by the military allows civilians to be the ultimate check on the power of government. Assault-style weapons are also effective for home and farm defense. Plus, shooting enthusiasts also find them a lot of fun to shoot at the range. They enjoy them for the same reasons that car enthusiasts enjoy driving a Ferraris. Consequently, many gun owners are purchasing the firearms of their dreams now before it’s too late.
Gun Buying Frenzy: The website for my local gun store and range, Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna, Georgia, now hosts a banner that reads: ” Due to an overwhelming amount of interest since the election our phone systems have been overwhelmed. Please be patient and bear with us. We are doing our best to ensure that we serve all of our patrons with the quality service they deserve.” Just as his election in 2008 caused the great gun rush of 2008, the re-election of the president has touched of a frenzy of gun buying among worried firearms enthusiasts.
Guns Affected By Assault Weapons Ban: What kinds of firearms are most likely to be affected by a renewed assault weapons bans? The original assault weapons ban prohibited the sale of semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines and at any two of the following features: folding or telescoping stock, pistol grip, bayonet mount, flash suppressor, or a muzzle-device that enables the launching of rifle grenades. Semi-automatic pistols with detachable magazines and any two of the following features: a magazine that attaches outside of the pistol grip, a threaded barrel for the attachment of a barrel extender, flash suppressor, handgrip, or suppressor, a barrel shroud that can be used as a grip, an unloaded weight of 50 ounces or more, or a semi-automatic version of a fully automatic pistol. Shotguns with pistol grips, more than 5-round magazine capacity, folding or telescoping stock, or a detachable magazine.
Manufacturers Affected If enacted today, this ban would affect many popular firearms like the AR-15 and M-4 carbine variants, AK-47 variants, M-14 variants like the Springfield Armory M1A and Ruger Mini-14, FN-FAL variants, home defense shotguns, and pistols based on the M4 carbine. Current tactical-Style Firearms offered by companies like American Spirit Arms, Armalite, Bushmaster, Colt, DPMS, FNH, Franklin Armory, Heckler & Koch, High Standard, Mossberg, Remington, Rock River Arms, Ruger, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, STI, Umarex, and Wilson Combat would definitely be affected.
Working Around A Ban While it’s likely that firearms manufacturers would work around a future ban by selling traditional assault-style weapons with thumb-hole stocks, limited magazine capacities, removing tactical-accessory rails, removing bayonet mounts, and removing flash suppressors, the collectible aspect of many tactical-style firearms would be reduced. They would no longer look like the guns carried by America’s heroes in the military or the communist guns that played a role in many armed conflicts around the world. Since the original assault weapons ban was criticized as addressing primarily cosmetic aspects of firearms, many gun owners worry that a new ban would reach even further.
What Gun Owners Should Do As a gun owner, I’ve enjoyed shooting many tactical-style firearms. While some of these tactical firearms are a little mall ninja for my tastes, if I had the funds I would buy a Ruger Mini-30 for fun or an AR-15 variant in order to participate in the military rifle marksmanship contests held by gun clubs. Since I am always short of funds, I will opt for a well-crafted letter to my congressmen opposing the assault-weapons ban and focusing on shortcomings in mental health care system in our country and on the need to keep instant background check databases current and up-to-date. If you are a gun owner, this is the time to weigh in and let your voice be heard. If you’ve always dreamed of owning a sporting rifle with assault weapon looks, this also might be the time to buy.
“Obama suggests he would seek to revive the ban on assault weapons” Reuters. October 17, 2012
Adventures Outdoors website
Federal Assault Weapons Ban – Wikipedia entry
“2013 Gun Buyer’s Guide,” American Handgunner Tactical Annual – Special Edition 2013.
Other articles by this contributor:
The Arsenal of Fun: a Guide to .22-caliber Firearms for Target Shooting Fun
Can an Armed Citizen Stop a Shooting Spree?
The Beginners Battery: Choosing Guns for Beginning Shooters