Politics

February 16, 2013

Gun ban would exempt more than 2,000 specific firearms

Some gun experts say that the latest effort to outlaw assault rifles shows a lack of understanding of weapons.

By EILEEN SULLIVAN The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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New models of this Ruger Mini-14 that have folding stocks and pistol grips would be banned under proposed federal gun control legislation. But a similar model without a folding stock would be exempted. Both models can take detachable magazines that hold dozens of rounds of ammunition.

The Associated Press/FBI

Any firearm that does not fall within the law's definition of an assault weapon would not be banned. As a result, the list gives vulnerable politicians cover from constituents who do not want to give up their firearms.

For example, a politician can look at the list and assure a constituent that the government would not ban the firearm he or she loves to use for deer hunting. Under the 1994 law and the currently proposed one, the government would not have the authority to take away guns people already legally own. The ban would apply only to specific firearms manufactured and sold after the law is enacted.

But gun experts say the lists in 1994 and the expanded lists of today don't make much sense.

"The bill demonstrates a shocking ignorance of the product they are purporting to regulate," said Lawrence Keane, senior vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association based in Newtown, Conn., that represents gun manufacturers. "I have no idea how they arrived at this list. It would seem to be random, bordering on throwing darts at a dartboard."

For instance, Feinstein's current proposal includes exemptions for three specific types of the M-1 Carbine, an assault rifle designed for the military that the U.S. currently bans from being imported. A draft of the legislation, created and modified in November and early December last year, banned the M-1 Carbine and didn't exempt any models, according to a copy obtained by the AP.

Feinstein said that firearms experts, law enforcement and gun safety organizations disagreed about whether to include the M-1 Carbine on the list of banned weapons.

"It has been used in multiple police shootings, and was originally used by U.S. soldiers on the battlefield," Feinstein said. "On the other hand, it comes in models that would not meet the military characteristics test." She said she decided to limit banned weapons to those that met the definition outlined in the bill.

At a Jan. 30 hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee on gun violence, National Rifle Association President Wayne LaPierre said Feinstein's bill is "based on falsehoods to people that do not understand firearms, to convince them that the performance characteristics of guns that they are trying to ban through that bill are different than the performance characteristics that they're not trying to ban."

 

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