Controlling Assault Weapons Hyperbole

by Peter DeMaria | 11/10/04 6:00am

To the Editor:

In his November 9 piece "The Ultimate GOP Fantasy," Michael Belinsky '08 protests the evils of the Grand Old Party and more specifically, the assault weapons ban. The author claims that "congressmen are making weapons more readily available to the public; all kinds of weapons." However, this claim is simply false.

The assault weapons ban signed into law in 1994 by President Clinton defines an assault rifle as any weapon with two or more of the following characteristics: folding/telescoping stock, protruding pistol grip, bayonet mount, threaded muzzle or flash suppressor, or grenade launcher. However, firearms that incorporate only one of these characteristics are nonetheless legal under the 1994 ban. Before the sunset of the assault weapons ban, any 18-year-old Hanover High student in New Hampshire could nonetheless purchase an AK-47 or AR-15 "assault rifle." Gun control advocates should agree that the Clinton ban is poor legislation and ineffective.

It is for these reasons that President Bush let the ban expire. The expiration of the ban does not, in fact, make weapons more accessible to the public. If those who criticized gun control regulation took the time to research the issue, they would quickly find that it has been illegal for unlicensed citizens to own automatic weapons since 1934. The next time Belinsky decides to write something outside of his English 5 classroom, perhaps he should do his homework and get it right.