Originally Published: September 14, 2004 7 a.m.
Never have so many people made so much fuss over so little as people are making over the expiration of the so-called "assault weapons ban."
We use the words "so-called," because "assault weapons" is a misnomer applied to the guns involved and it really didn't solve the problem of crime in America.
The law when enacted did two things.
First, it banned the sale, manufacture and importation of 19 specifically named semi-automatic long guns possessing certain odious cosmetic features than made them look like real, fully-automatic assault weapons. The features included pistol grips, flash suppressors, folding stocks and the like.
Second, it banned the manufacture, importation and sale of magazines for semi-automatic weapons with a capacity of more than 10 rounds.
Then President Bill Clinton said the horrible guns killed thousands of police officers and civilians daily. The FBI crime statistics for 1994 showed that long guns of all kinds accounted for less than 1 percent of all firearms deaths.
Although anti-gun groups and urban chiefs of police say the legislation reduced crime, that contention makes about as much sense as saying carrying an umbrella reduces rain.
The crime drop in the past 10 years is more the result of stricter enforcement of existing laws and stricter sentencing.
Manufacturers merely removed the odious cosmetic features and kept selling essentially the same (but prettier) guns.
The market is so full of high-capacity magazines made prior to the ban that they still appear in most firearm accessory catalogs.
The firearms industry is under stricter regulations than the nuclear industry. Only the dumbest crook would show up at a sporting goods store to buy a semi-automatic weapon.
It was nothing but classic liberal feel-good legislation that generated a few weeks of favorable headlines and did nothing but hassle law-abiding citizens. Don't shed any tears for it.