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The 10-year federal ban on "assault" weapons has officially expired as a result of Congress failing to pass renewed legislation - that President Bush would have signed had it crossed his desk. Consider the ban's expiration a victory for President Bush who didn't want to face pressure from his pro-gun constituents.
Of course, the hysterical Left is screaming anarchy, however the death of this useless bill is actually a benefit to the general population and law-abiding gun enthusiasts, not criminals. Anti-gun lobbyists now fear that "scary looking" (the tactic used to decide which guns would be banned) weapons are available to criminals, but the Department of Justice tells us that only 2% of guns used to commit crimes come from gun shows; 12% from pawn shops and retail stores. The majority of guns used by felons (80%) come from "family, friends, a street buy, or an illegal source," which aren't regulated by government and its "assault" weapons ban. Basically the "assault weapons" ban, even if effective, would only regulate 14% of the total crimes committed by felons.
Some have e-mailed me to write that the 30-year low in crime is a result from the 10-year ban on "assault" weapons, but that is clearly nonsense. The National Institute of Justice reports that the guns restricted by the ban were responsible for only 2% of all reported gun crimes before it became enacted.
So what's the point of having legislation that only controls 2% of bad-faith gun use out of the 14% of crimes resulting from the acquisition of a gun at either a gun show or retail store - the only outlets that regulation impacts? It's a common sense issue that few seem to have the capacity to understand.
I blame President Bush for taking the political road, catering to opinion polls instead of his values which may be why the National Rifle Association has yet to formally endorse his presidency. Wavering on important issues displays a major character flaw which is not attractive to potent ional voters, with exception to his far-right cheerleaders that will praise him regardless.
But let's talk about the fear many uninformed citizens exhibit now that once-banned firearms will be making their way onto retail shelves. For each of the 19 formerly banned guns exists a legal substitute; one without - say - a folding stock or a bayonet mount; two of a list of contrived features that make a weapon an "assault" weapon. These weapons have always been available; still illegal for criminals, and yet we're enjoying a 30-year low in crime.
The ban's expiration will not mean more guns in our country because they're already here. The ban's expiration will however put more of those guns in the right hands; in the hands of non-felons who value their second amendment right to protect themselves and their families.
Does it not make sense to say that if there are semi-automatic weapons exposed to the general population then they should be in the hands of responsible citizens with no criminal records? If you supported the weapons ban then you supported an advantage to the criminals. Now the tables have turned. Now for the first time in ten years a thug who breaks into a home with malicious intent can met with the same or greater force that he brought.