End to weapon ban creates little bang
Monday’s expiration of the 1994 federal assault weapons ban seemed to have little effect on Garfield County firearms dealers. Aside from some stores’ plans to order larger-capacity ammunition clips that can be used with existing weapons, area gun salesmen said there will be little change in their inventories. Greg Wright of Timberline Sports in Rifle said his store mostly sells hunting rifles, so the law’s expiration won’t affect him much. “I’m sure there will be some changes. The high-capacity magazines will probably come back,” he said. The ban, which was officially called the Federal Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, banned rifles that had detachable magazines and two or more of the following characteristics: • A folding or telescoping stock • A pistol grip • A bayonet mount • A flash suppressor, or threads to attach one (a flash suppressor reduces the amount of flash that the rifle shot makes. It is the small birdcage-like item on the muzzle of the rifle) • A grenade launcher.The law also limited ammunition clips to 10 rounds, or bullets.The law effectively stopped the production and sales of 19 types of assault weapons including the Uzi, Beretta Ar70, Colt AR-15 and Intratec TEC-9. While some people see the ban’s expiration as a blow to gun control, others say the law was ineffective and wound up being a failure. The ban expired at 12:01 a.m. Monday. Like Wright, Glenwood Springs Rite Aid manager Mike Ketelsleger said his store’s gun department won’t change much as a result of the ban’s expiration. “We’re in it just to sell weapons for hunting and target shooting – for sportsmen,” he said. Mark George, assistant manager of Tim’s Tools in Silt, said the biggest demand his store has seen is for high-capacity magazines. He said the store has ordered magazines for the Ruger 10/22 semiautomatic rifle, but the warehouses can’t keep up with the pent-up national demand. “We’re on the waiting list,” he said. Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said that unlike many law enforcement officials who supported the ban and wanted to see it extended, he’s not too concerned about the ban’s expiration. “I’m not really passionate about it one way or the other, but I don’t oppose it sunsetting,” Vallario said. “There are no statistics showing that it really benefited the community.”Vallario said his philosophy is to punish criminals adequately rather than passing more laws. “Hammer the violators, don’t hammer the law-abiding citizens,” he said. Contact Greg Massé: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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