Duke University's Chronicle, comments on the death of the AWB


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oneslowgun
September 29, 2004, 11:40 PM
http://www.chronicle.duke.edu/vnews/display.v/ART/2004/09/29/415aa065dee59


September 29, 2004
Ban's expiration creates controversy
by Adam Eaglin
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Since a national act banning assault weapons expired Sept. 13, activists on national, local and campus levels have debated its impact on the future of gun violence.

The Federal Assault Weapons Act of 1994, part of crime legislation from former President Bill Clinton’s administration, prohibited the manufacture and distribution of 19 varieties of assault weapons and expired this month. Recent polls demonstrated widespread support for the ban—even among gun owners.

About 68 percent of Americans and even 32 percent of National Rifle Association members advocate the ban’s renewal, according to two studies released this month by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. North Carolina’s local governments have expressed general support for the ban as well.

David Jones, director of the North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission, said nothing negative has been said “among commission members or anyone in our circles” about the ban. “By and large, they would be in favor of its continuation,” he noted.

In Durham, activist groups such as the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham, are adamant in their approval of the ban.

“We have increased the risk factor for this community,” RCND director Marcia Owen said. “The availability and accessibility [of assault weapons] has increased the risk to public health.”

Despite the ban’s broad support, gun activists are quick to counter that the legislation dealt more with aesthetic issues than function. Sharyn Duke, owner of Armory Arms Inc. in Durham, explained that even prior to the expiration, she carried similar weapons in her store. “You could still get the guns,” she said, noting loopholes in the law. She added that she had seen no increase in sales of such weapons at her store in recent weeks. The ban, Duke argued, had essentially no effect.

Anti-gun activists said gang violence is one issue that the ban’s expiration has the potential to affect. “In certain areas of the state, there seems to be a growing number of gangs,” Jones said. In the future, he said, the Crime Commission and the N.C. Gang Investigator’s Association will monitor violence in relation to assault weapons.

Owen said Durham is an area in which gang violence is present, and that “criminals will use assault weapons to defend turf.”

“It doesn’t take a lot of intelligence to recognize that [gun violence] is the problem of weapons that are designed and produced and marketed to inflict bodily trauma,” Owen said. “It is the presence of guns that really have an enormous risk to our culture, to our society.” The low homicide rate in certain European countries, Owen added, shows a direct correlation to very strict gun laws in those nations.

Opponents of the ban said it does not target the roots of gun violence. “People who commit crime prefer something easy to conceal, like handguns,” said Wayne Paschall, owner of The Country Store in Durham, which used to carry guns but no longer does. “In cases that involve extreme shooting, like Columbine, it has been handguns.”

The cumbersome nature of assault weapons, he explained, makes them less applicable to many crime situations. Paschall also noted that in the Durham community in particular, drugs often lie behind gun violence, and the government should work to handle this problem first.

On campus, an organization has already emerged to publicize the issue. Within the Humanitarian Challenges FOCUS program, students developed People Against Assault Weapons. The students said they were unaware of the issue until just a week before the expiration date and they wanted to spread the word to other Duke students. Members of PAAW coordinated events around campus that allowed interested students to put their handprints in paint to support the ban’s continuation.

In addition, postcard petitions were available, addressed with detailed messages to Duke alumna Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C.

“When she ran for Senate, she pledged to make a difference in gun violence,” said PAAW member Megan Moskop, a freshman. “And she really hasn’t done anything with that so far.”

The postcards aimed to remind Dole of her history with Duke and urged her to support the continuation of the ban. “I would support a much stronger version of the ban,” said Moskop, “although the renewal of the ban would be better than nothing.”

Despite his vocal support of the act in the 2000 election, President George W. Bush has not pushed for its continuation as the original legislation encouraged. Because the ban was a federal law, many local officials noted that nothing more can be done than observe effects in the coming months.

“I can’t predict what’s going to happen,” said Owen, who fears the ban’s expiration will lead to increased violence. “Maybe nothing will happen, and that would be fantastic.”

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My head hurts just reading this.

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TrapperReady
September 30, 2004, 12:30 AM
Does anyone take heart in the fact that the opposition considers a cutesy name (PAAW), some handprints (PAAW-prints?) and a few postcards is their plan of action? They weren't even aware of the issue until a week before the ban expired.

They'll forget about it after the next kegger.

jefnvk
September 30, 2004, 04:37 PM
Yep, that way when they are compared, anti looks like a cute puppy dog, and pro looks like Rambo.

Its much more balanced that I would have expected from a college paper.

Wildalaska
September 30, 2004, 04:52 PM
I can’t predict what’s going to happen,” said Owen, who fears the ban’s expiration will lead to increased violence. “Maybe nothing will happen, and that would be fantastic.”

And if nothing happens, ya gonna eat some crow?

WildbetyawontAlaska

flatrock
September 30, 2004, 05:06 PM
Do you notice that these people never mention the possible use of a gun for self defense?

Are they simply oblivious to the fact that the only people gun laws disarm are those who obey the law?

El Tejon
September 30, 2004, 05:17 PM
Memo to spoiled numbnuts: There was no frigging ban! I owned assault weapons before the ban. I owned assault weapons during the ban. I own even more assault weapons now.

These dimwits seem to think that after 9/13/04 assault weapons popped up out of the ground or something.:scrutiny:

RavenVT100
September 30, 2004, 05:28 PM
This article is but more FUD from people who know nothing about guns yet are arrogant enough to feign informed commentary on the issue, and is not worth reading for that reason.

oldfart
September 30, 2004, 07:58 PM
"These dimwits seem to think that after 9/13/04 assault weapons popped up out of the ground or something."

No, they'd been told for months that the streets would be flooded with AK-47s and Uzis. They naturally assumed that all the bad guys would just salvage some from the flood.

benewton
September 30, 2004, 08:50 PM
Got my nets set up out on the "street" (OK, so it's only my highly desired dirt road, but still...): no AW's yet, but I keep hoping...

Guess I'll just have to live with the normal, semi-auto look alikes for a bit.

But, thanks to THEM, I KNOW that they're coming!

And I check the nets daily.


Better luck to you, since, as I've mentioned, none have flown past my digs!

Standing Wolf
September 30, 2004, 09:23 PM
“It doesn’t take a lot of intelligence to recognize that [gun violence] is the problem of weapons that are designed and produced and marketed to inflict bodily trauma,” Owen said.

He must not have the requisite number of I.Q. points, because it's obvious violence is caused by criminals, not firearms.

Hawkmoon
September 30, 2004, 10:32 PM
Are they simply oblivious to the fact that the only people gun laws disarm are those who obey the law?

I assume that this was a rhetorical question, since the answer is so obviously "Yes."

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