As President Barack Obama pushes for tighter control on
firearms, the only thing scarcer than a weapons store with any assault weapons
left is a person without an opinion about the proposed ban.
The proposed ban would make it illegal to manufacture,
purchase or sell semi-automatic assault weapons, as well as high-capacity
“High-capacity” is a term applied to anything that can hold
more than ten rounds. An assault weapon is defined as any
selective-fire firearm capable of fully automatic, semiautomatic or burst fire
at the option of the user. The law would also require a background check
before the purchase of any firearm. The new laws would, however, allow for
people to keep any assault weapons or clips that they owned prior to the ban.
The ban would also make allowances for various hunting rifles and shotguns.
Thousands of people gathered in Washington D.C. over the
weekend to rally for stricter gun control, marching from the Capitol to the
Washington Monument. Although there have been no marches or rallies on the
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point campus, students are not without their
“I don’t know necessarily know if it is the proper solution
to the problem,” said Christopher Schurter, a political science and pre-law
student at UWSP. “I think maybe instead of trying to enforce new rules, we
should start enforcing the laws that we have, and maybe start regulating the
sales of ammunition instead of guns.”
“I get a little confused about how far to take the right to
bear arms, and that seems to be what everybody defers to,” said Cory Rusch, a
philosophy major at UWSP. “Yet I don’t know if we want everybody to have tanks,
so it seems like a good idea to have some sort of regulation. But I can’t
really decide how far to go with it. We
can’t have tanks, so there are already bans on weapons if you think about it.
So all we are really doing is modifying the existing idea to limit the
firepower available to civilians.”
Another UWSP student, Najah Alboushi, also voiced her
opinion on the matter.
“I would be ok with the ban. I am not a gun person. Hunting
rifles, I am definitely ok with. Anything bigger, why would you need them?”
In 1994 a ban on assault weapons, similar to the ban
proposed now, was passed and stayed effective for ten years. Since the current ban
was proposed, sales in assault weapons have gone up considerably.
“Our sales have basically tripled in the last sixty days,
ever since Obama took office,” said Jake Andreae, owner of Heavy Metal Firearms
located in Stevens Point. “Once he got elected, the sales went up significantly
and then after the Newtown shooting sales went up again.”
Not only has the proposed ban affected the availability of
assault weapons, it has also affected the price of the weapons.
“Prices on assault weapons have gone up, basically doubled.
Some of the AK’s are about up 40 to 50 percent. Magazines are just scarce. You
can’t find them,” Andreae said. “Before the talks of the ban, we were probably
close to 35 to 40 percent assault weapons in stock. Now, since that, we don’t
have inventory, and we are probably sitting at about five percent tactical.
Everybody wants to get one before they can’t.”