Community columnist Frank Ashley’s commentary taking Congress to task for failing to ban so-called “assault weapons” after the shooting of U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise shows no understanding of the law or of the firearm used in this attack.
The man who shot Scalise used an SKS, a semiautomatic rifle designed in 1945. Like all semiautomatic firearms, it fires one round with each trigger pull. President Bill Clinton’s 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban didn’t include the SKS, because it isn’t an “assault rifle.”
The other firearm recovered was a common 9mm handgun.
Ashley did not mention that the firearms were legally bought in Illinois, one of the nation’s most restrictive states. In fact, the assailant had a valid Illinois firearms owners’ identification card, a further step required by Illinois but not by the federal government.
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Further, the assertion that assault weapons can be bought, traded and sold over the internet is blatantly false. All internet firearms retail sales are required to be completed at a federally licensed firearms dealer with an FBI background check.
Repetition of misstatements never makes them true. It misinforms readers.
Lawrence G. Keanep
Senior vice president and general counsel
National Shooting Sports Foundation