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Law allows obtaining assault weapons easy

This item originally appeared in the September 23, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.

President George W. Bush allowed a law banning 19 types of assault weapons to expire Sept. 13.

The law began 10 years ago while Bill Clinton was in office.

Guns were not allowed to carry more than 10 rounds of ammo, and a gun could not have both a grenade launcher and a bayonet mount. Flash suppressors, folding stocks and pistol-type grips were also not allowed.

President Bush permitted the law to expire after promising the public during his 2000 campaign that he would sign the extension. Since the law was enacted, the percentages of gun-related fatalities have decreased drastically.

According to Crime Gun Solutions LLC, a consulting firm, since the ban was passed in 1994 the number of assault weapons linked to crimes has dropped 45 percent.

Deaths dropped from 38,505 in 1994 to 29,573 in 2001, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The ban expired two days after the anniversary of Sept. 11 and had the National Rifle Association celebrating.

While the NRA contests that weapons similar to those banned were still available during the last 10 years, the ban made obtaining assault weapons such as Uzi's, AK-47's and TEC-9's illegal.

As the United States continues to fight the War on Terror, President Bush made obtaining assault weapons much easier by letting the ban expire.

Congress, Republicans and Democrats deserve as much criticism as Mr. Bush for letting the ban expire.

Seven states including Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, New York and Hawaii still have bans in place. These laws will no longer be backed up by the federal ban.

In other states, weapons similar to the one used in the sniper shootings in Washington, Maryland and Virginia in 2002 are now available with a larger ammo capacity and other features that make aim more precise.

While gun violence will always be a problem, having bans such as this are important in regulating assault weapons and their usage. As with every law there are loopholes. But, it is better to have a law than to not have one.

After careful consideration, Tech journalism department officials selected the fall quarter editors on Sept. 2.

Amber Miles of Dallas will lead the staff. Miles interned this summer with The Austin (Texas) American-Statesman. Last summer, she interned with The News-Star of Monroe. Miles previously served as news editor, contributing editor and associate managing editor for The Tech Talk.

Other fall quarter editors include: Jennifer Reynolds of Shreveport as associate editor. She has interned at WAGA Fox 5 in Atlanta and KTVE Channel 10 in West Monroe;

Nick Todaro of Shreveport as managing editor. He has interned at Clear Channel affiliate KEEL radio station in Shreveport and The Ruston Daily Leader and is a co-student president of the Southeast Journalism Conference for 2004-2005;

Josh Milton of Ruston, sports editor. In addition to freelancing for area newspapers, Milton has extensive experience as a writer with Tech's Sports Media Relations Office. Julie Miller of Shreveport, associate managing editor. She has interned with CosmoGirl and Seventeen magazines in New York City, serves The Times of Shreveport as a columnist and Teen Times founder/editor, and is Tech's 2005 yearbook editor.


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