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Assault Weapons Ban sunsets. No drive by bayonetings!

The 10-year-old Assault Weapons Ban expired Sept. 13 without anarchy devastating the nation. While the anti-gun movement screamed the ban's sunset would unleash a "flood of assault weapons," the market remains subdued, with only a few reports of increased sales.

"We've had a lot of calls from people asking about the high-capacity magazines, but not many of them have come in, yet," said Rick Millo, owner of Valley Firearms in Shelton, Conn., who was visited by the news media the day after the ban expired. "I also told him we hadn't had any drive by bayonetings," referring to the hysteria of the anti-gun movement.

"You're talking about lethal weapons that can kill a lot of people in a short amount of time," said Shikha Hamilton of the Million Mom March. The misrepresentation of what the ban actually did, prohibiting certain cosmetic features, was common in the anti-gun movement's effort to renew the law.

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"Now, these guns, designed by military scientists to inflict the maximum level of damage to human beings, are back on the street," Sarah Brady of the Brady Campaign said in an open letter to President Bush. "You should be ashamed."

Democratic Presidential nominee, Sen. John Kerry said, "Today George Bush made the job of terrorists easier and made the job of America's law enforcement officers harder."

The ban was allowed to expire because it was "a feel-good piece of legislation," said House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom Delay (Rep.-Texas).

Some dealers did report an increase in business. Dave Anver of Dave's Guns in Denver, reported 15 to 20 customers had asked about firearms, but most dealers indicate business was normal.

"I haven't had much interest," said Bill Lowe, owner of Bill's Sporting Goods Store in Claremore, Okla. "The only thing it will do is reduce the value of the high-cap magazines we already have."

Bryon Tucker, president of Davidson's, said the major distributor had received a great number of telephone calls from dealers.

"Because we're a law enforcement distributor, we probably have more product to sell than other distributors," Tucker said. "Most of our calls were for high-cap mags, but we don't have the goods available, because manufacturers haven't been able ship anything yet."

A number of firearm manufacturers are offering free high-capacity magazines, via Web sites, to consumers who purchase new firearms, or in some cases, to those who bought new guns recently.

"We can now offer higher capacity magazines to our customers, as we did prior to the ban," said Roy Cuny, Smith & Wesson president. "We already offer these magazines for law enforcement, so for us, it's just getting back to where we were."

Taurus International is offering high-capacity magazines for 11 of its handguns.

"We're giving our customers an opportunity to own a high-cap magazine for the Taurus handguns they now own," said Bob Morrison. Taurus executive vice president and COO. "I don't expect a great increase in sales. That only occurs when something is banned."

Beretta is giving customers two high-capacity magazines with new 92/96 series pistols or the Cx4 Storm purchased between June 1 and Oct. 31. Para-Ordnance is offering customers two free high-capacity magazines for every Para PXT Hi-Cap .45 ACP bought between Sept. 14 and Nov. 30.

DPMS, Bushmaster and Mec-Gar are offering a number of high-capacity magazines on their Web sites. In addition, DPMS and Bushmaster are advertising firearm options that were prohibited by the ban. At ArmaLite, President Mark A. Westrom said he sees a slight increase in sales.

"I think we'll see a bit of an up-tick in business, but not as much as people think," Westrom said. "The sunset of the ban affects only a corner of our market. It will help our sales, but it's not the boon that the Brady bunch has threatened it would be."

Concerning the expiration of the ban, Cuny said it is "a return to a more rational world. A lot of people misunderstood what the ban did."

Morrison said, "It's the quivering death of an unneeded law that had no affect on crime. It was a poorly conceived stop-gap measure to satisfy the media and gun opponents."

Westrom expressed concern, "because for a decade, we've had relative peace. Now, in many states, we're going to see a cry for some type of action."

Industry experts caution dealers to ensure they are complying with all state and federal laws that are still in affect. The ATF's Web site, www.atf.gov/firearms, has additional information.

Russ Thurman, Editor
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Title Annotation:Industry News
Author:Thurman, Russ
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Oct 1, 2004
Words:752
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