Ban on Assault Weapons Expires

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After September 13th, guns like AK-47s and TEC-9s will be back on the street.

President Clinton signed legislation a decade ago, outlawing 19 types of military style assault weapons. The law expires on Sept. 13 because Congress rejected its renewal.

Gun enthusiasts have long criticized the ban as cosmetic. Only slight changes were made to guns that still have killing power.

Owner of Burdett and Son Dave Burdett said, "Those really don't affect how powerful a gun is, how accurate a gun is or anything of that nature. So it really didn't effect much of anything."

What it did do was ban the manufacture of high-capacity magazines.

Right now the price is high for magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Gun enthusiasts say lifting the ban on high-capacity magazines should make the biggest bang.

Gun store owners are looking forward to increasing inventory and selling clips, once again, without restrictions, an idea that's unsettling for some people.

Mike Stulce, owner of Champion Firearms, believes the 10-year-old ban was a poor attempt at cutting crime.

"It seemed like it was making a step towards the right direction, but really I think it was politics more than anything else," said Stulce.

The issue has sparked partisan battles on Capitol Hill. But, local District 17 candidates Chet Edwards, a democrat, and Arlene Wohlgemuth, a republican, see eye to eye.

"After reviewing the facts over a decade, I'm convinced the law was full of loopholes and ineffective," said Edwards.

"What we need to do is ban criminals not guns," said Wohlgemuth.

Yet, some of their constituents disagree.

"I can't see any need for people to have these assault weapons especially in these times of terrorism," said resident Bryant Miles.

President Bush hasn't pushed for the extension of the ban, but says he would sign it if congress passed the law again.

A study by the Bureau of Justice concluded that military-style assault weapons we're used in less than two percent of crimes nationwide.