Get gun facts straight

Reading the September 23, 2004 Hook ["Cocked: Locals react to lifted gun ban"], I find it amazing how ignorant people are about what was really covered by the Assault Weapons Ban. Even more disturbing to me is how ignorant the Charlottesville police chief is on the subject.

Assault weapons are capable of full automatic fire. Automatic weapons have been severely restricted since 1934. The assault rifle ban didn't have anything to do with automatic weapons. It banned some semi-automatic guns (one shot per trigger pull) with certain cosmetic appearances and high capacity magazines.

Basically, guns that looked dangerous were banned. The guns banned aren't any different in function from the rifle that people use to plunk cans at the rifle range. It would make more sense to ban red sports cars and leave black ones legal since everybody knows red sports cars are more dangerous. See how stupid it sounds placed in another context?

Full automatic-capable assault weapons were used in the infamous "California incident." Those guns were illegal then and are still illegal. The police chief mentions Columbine where pistols and shotguns were used, not so-called assault rifles. The guns were used only after the planned propane bombs in the cafeteria didn't work. Should we ban propane tanks?

I would like to see the terrorists' "well documented plans to buy assault weapons in America." Why would terrorists want to buy a semiautomatic gun here in America? In Afghanistan for $20 they can buy a true full automatic weapon, or rocket-propelled grenades in Iraq. Smuggling them into the USA would be easy. Look at all the drugs coming over our borders.

The bottom line is the assault weapon ban was a feel-good law that accomplished nothing. The government couldn't produce any statistics that can prove they stopped any crime. Any change was less than the error factor of the studies.

Brian Weidman