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THE GUN BAN SUNSET:
REQUIESCENT IN PACE

Rep. Vic Kohring
April 5, 2005

Once again we have a major reason to be thankful we live in Alaska. While editorialists in the Lower 48 were out lying each other over how much blood would be spilled the very second the odious "Semi-automatic Gun Ban" faded into the sunset last Fall, the state's newspaper editors for the most part held their opinions to themselves. In Alaska, where virtually everyone owns and uses guns, the lies of Ted Kennedy, Dianne Feinstien and the New York Times are well known.

We know the muddled gun ban legislation was full of holes, that guns were banned because of their "scary" appearance, and that the ban would make no difference in the criminal use of this category of firearms. It's been ten years and the statistics have not changed. The gun ban properly sunsetted, and there will be no blood bath predicted by liberal newspapers.

We as gun owners and users know the futility of gun bans, but many editors and pundits don't. Consider the September 12, 2004 San Jose Mercury News lead editorial with a large photo of a shooting ten years ago: "At the stroke of midnight on Monday, TEC-9s and AK-47s will be blue light specials in the nation's gun shops-and it will only be a matter of time before fresh blood spills on American's streets...As of Monday, the NRA can deliver its votes, leaving it to others to bury bodies." Never mind FBI studies concluding rifles are involved in less than 3% of all crime in the U.S. And of that, less than .08 are anywhere close to meeting the definition of "assault weapon."

What is the definition of an "assault weapon" under federal law? According to Physicians for Social Responsibility: "All semi-automatic assault pistols and rifles that can accept a detachable magazine and has two or more "assault" characteristics.

What are "assault" characteristics? The assault weapons ban identifies key features that characterize a gun as an assault weapon and prohibits production of firearms with two more characteristics such as folding stocks, pistol grips and barrel shrouds that have nothing to do with the gun's power, range or lethality. The Feinstein ban is full of loopholes and when manufacturers made almost identical guns without bayonet mounts or pistol grips, the resulting guns have been in the public's hands with no increase in crime statistics over ten years.

The anti-gun crowd goes to great lengths to lead Americans to believe that all police are for banning guns, especially assault weapons. Not true. Maryland attempted to pass its own version of the "Feinstien gun ban" recently. Yet the Maryland State Police and the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police strongly opposed the ban.

Those who fear giving their fellow man full gun rights will no doubt continue with their lies. As the assault weapon panic fades, gun-control activists will find another gun to demonize. They already have, as California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently banned .50 caliber rifles. Gun controllers claim they are the new weapons of choice for terrorists, just as criminals supposedly preferred assault weapons. Yet there is only one reported case of a .50-caliber rile ever being used in a crime in the U.S. Golf clubs are more frequently used as crime weapons than .50 caliber rifles.

Anti-gunners will deliberately continue to misrepresent assault weapons as machine guns as CNN did in May 2003, when it ran a piece on assault weapons but instead showed a video of a machine gun. They were forced to retract when the lie was exposed.

While we finally won a major victory with the Feinstein-Clinton gun ban sunset, the war is still on. We must continue to fight with eternal vigilance.


Rep. Vic Kohring is a Republican, and serves Wasilla and the Mat-Su in the Alaska State Legislature. He is a Life Member of the National Rifle Association.

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