The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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April 12, 2013

Your View: Limiting assault weapons sales thwarts wrongdoers

— State Rep. Tony Cornish's March 30 letter makes an airtight case for banning assault weapons. He says wrongdoers get guns because "They steal, rob, burglarize and borrow them from relatives." Isn't it clear that if assault weapons were illegal, there would be no assault weapons around for them to steal, rob, burglarize or borrow?

For example, there's no special problem with live, military grenades because their possession or sale is illegal. It's hard for wrongdoers to get them. But remove the ban on grenades and make them as available as guns are, and you would create ever-growing problems.

Cornish is also naive in accepting NRA insistence that wrongdoers don't get guns at "private sales and gun shows." According to FBI statistics, from Nov. 30, 1998, through 2012, there were 160,474,702 background check transactions and 987,578 rejections. Why wouldn't some persons pay even a profitable, premium price through either a gun show or a private sale to avoid a background check?

Cornish's support for some background checks, but excluding gun shows and private sales, doesn't make sense either because it's just like saying, "You should lock your doors and windows to keep out unwanted intruders, but you need to leave some of the doors and windows open."

Taking away all presently owned assault weapons or expecting owners to relinquish them voluntarily is probably as unrealistic as trying to solve immigration problems by advocating forced deportation of 11-15 million people or else self-deportation. But limiting assault weapons sales to gradually dry up the market would make it ever more difficult for wrongdoers to get them and lessen others' mistaken belief they need them.


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