Skip to comments.With Ban Lifted, Some Gun Shoppers Find Lower Prices
Posted on 09/16/2004 12:55:38 AM PDT by Pharmboy
Totally Awesome Guns and Range in West Valley City, Utah, has been hopping this week with customers trying to buy guns that were illegal until the 10-year-old ban on assault weapons expired Monday.
One man bought all 15 of the Colt M-4 rifles that the store's general manager, Stephen Palano, had in stock. The M-4 is a semiautomatic version of the weapon used by American Special Forces and paratroopers. Until Congress allowed the assault weapon ban to lapse, the gun could be sold in the United States only to law enforcement agencies.
Andy Risbeck was disappointed to enter the store and find the M-4's sold out. He already owns an assault-style weapon - a rifle with a pistol grip and a high-capacity magazine - but because of the ban, his gun is missing a few military features, like a bayonet attachment, so now he wants the authentic weapon.
"It's more of a novelty thing," Mr. Risbeck said of his motivation. "I can play with all these different toys now and not get in trouble."
But the fervent interest appeared limited, as many gun stores across the nation reported little unusual activity after the ban's expiration.
Don Davis, the owner of Don's Guns in Indianapolis, the largest independently owned gun shop in the country, said, "No one has come in and asked about assault weapons."
The reason, Mr. Davis said, is that guns very similar to those banned remained readily available. "People have already got whatever they want; these guns were always for sale," he said.
Under the 1994 law, assault weapons already in circulation could continue to be sold. New guns with a large-capacity magazine accommodating more than 10 bullets could not have more than two combat-style features, including pistol grips for faster firing, a flash suppressor, a collapsible stock or a bayonet mount.
Mr. Davis called these "cosmetic changes that didn't do anything to change a gun's functioning."
Still, on Tuesday, Mr. Davis began making one adjustment because of the ban's expiration. He marked down the price of two Calico rifles that had been manufactured before the ban. One had a magazine with a 50-shot capacity; the other had a 100-shot capacity.
Mr. Davis reduced the price of each by $500, making them $1,000 to $1,200, "because I figure Calico sooner or later will now bring them back into production," increasing the supply.
Most gun store employees tended to agree with Mr. Davis that the end of the ban would lead to lower prices of the assault weapons that were sold during the ban and of high-capacity magazines long coveted by collectors and other gun enthusiasts.
Steve Baxter, the manager of American Classic Marksman, a gun shop and firing range in Norcross, Ga., outside Atlanta, said, "There is only one thing that changes: the price of the stuff."
Guns made before the ban carried a premium. Customers had to pay as much as $2,000 for a Colt AR-15, the civilian version of the military's M-16 rifle, Mr. Baxter said. But guns made during the ban that had certain restrictions were only $700 to $800.
"I've got a gun at home I paid $1,600 for," he said. "It's worth $800 now, thank you very much."
Similarly, Tim Adams, vice president of Kittery Trading Post in Kittery, Me., said, "We only had a few people inquiring" about assault weapons since the ban was lifted.
"The majority of people see the ban for what it was, a largely cosmetic law, one that had no discernable effect on crime," Mr. Adams said.
The only real change from the ban's expiration, he said, will be a drop in the price of those guns with all the features made before the ban. "It's natural supply and demand," Mr. Adams said.
Still, Bernie Esguerra, owner of Bernie's Sports Center in Lilborn, Ga., another Atlanta suburb, said he had a few customers who had put down deposits in advance of the ban's expiration on high-capacity magazines for Glock pistols. Those magazines could be legally purchased and attached to their handguns starting Monday.
Mr. Esguerra also had a few customers who came in this week to buy 100-round magazines for their AR-15 rifles. Such large magazines were banned under the 1994 law.
"Most of these people are law-abiding citizens," Mr. Esguerra said. "They're not using them to kill people, but for an investment and to target shoot."
The expiration of the federal ban on assault weapons does not change the rules in seven states. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, California and Hawaii have their own bans on assault weapons.
On Monday, California went a step further when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law making California the first state to ban 50-caliber sniper rifles. These rifles, which fire an armor-piercing bullet the same size as the military's 50-caliber machine gun, are accurate up to a mile.
They can shoot down airplanes or helicopters, and according to testimony in federal district court in New York, 25 of them were bought in the United States by terrorists and shipped to Osama bin Laden before the United States invaded Afghanistan to root out Al Qaeda.
Republicans in the House of Representatives are trying to capitalize on the expiration of the assault weapons ban and are preparing to vote on a bill that would repeal a ban on handguns in Washington. Representative Mark Souder, Republican of Indiana, said House Republican leaders told him they would allow a vote on his bill to remove the ban on handguns in the nation's capital before the Nov. 2 presidential election.
A repeal of that ban, originally enacted by the Washington City Council in 1976, has been a longtime goal of the National Rifle Association.
Ariel Hart contributed reporting from Atlanta for this article, Melissa Sanford from Utah and Kate Zezima from Boston.
My AK-74 and Mr Nasty Streetsweeper are on the way...
Maybe M1a's and M14's will come down! There will be some heavy competition for awhile.
The Ebay for guns.
The intital Pres Bush 1 ban is still in effect...the rules regarding the importation of military look alikes is still in effect...you cant buy any of the already banned firearms...
The so called Assault weapon ban really only bans pistol grips, flash suppressors, bayonet lugs, and magazines that held over ten rounds...
However if a gun is manufactured in the USA then it will be legal to own with all its cosmetic
features...jobs for Americans
Great news for collecters and action target shooters..
Unless you live in a state where your governor is a dem or a RINO
"25 of them were bought in the United States by terrorists and shipped to Osama bin Laden before the United States invaded Afghanistan to root out Al Qaeda."
That's odd, last I heard from friends over there, the US was using .50 cal. rifles for plinking Jihadiis at night using night sights.
"Gopher guns" was the very unofficial name for them because the gophers come out of the holes (caves) at night - and they never return. ;)
Lest the Left get it's nappies all twisted, perhaps we should remind them that we have radar systems in use for years which can recognize an incoming bullet, RPG, mortar, etc.
The system then computes the source from the trajectory and fires back at the source before the incoming object even lands.
Any lurking Lefties still want to agonize over on the Jihadi with the .50 cal.? Or are they just looking for an excuse to ban a weapon with military utility?
Last time I checked, the Second Amendment refered to weapons, not "sporting guns". The Founders wanted military superiority to lie in the hands of the citizens, not the government. On that basis, look for the Kalifornia .50 Kalibre Ban to be overturned.
As the Appelate Court in the case of Timothy Emerson stated, the Constitution addresses military weapons, not "sporting" weapons. That "sporting" catagory is a recent liberal invention. Previously, it was accepted that citizens could own crew served weapons (cannons) and military vessels (privateers).
Make terrorists nervious - BRING BACK LETTERS OF MARQUE!!
I want a street sweeper.
Any time a firearms-related thread is created on FreeRepublic, please be sure to add the "banglist" keyword to it so that interested FReepers don't miss it.
Let Freedom Ring,
Good news ping.
Make it a pre-nutial condition...
Is that like pre-neutered?
Ah hmmm, the FR rule is that *every* thread on guns or girls must have pics...
Lucky for you I came along before the mods caught you!
The AWB Has Expired - Gun Owners Have Won Again For All Americans!
Yesterday I stopped into a police supply store and bought their three remaining Walther P99 hi-cap (12 whole rounds!) .40 cal magazines for $30 apiece - $5 less than the 10 rounders.
Spell it any way you like...
I like one too, but Street Sweepers have been classifed as Destructive Devices and are not made legal for ownership by the expiration of the AWB.