Kashmeri: Assault Weapons Ban

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I had been inspired by the successful buy-back program run by the Los
Angeles Police Department last December. In one day more than two
thousand firearms were purchased in this no-questions-asked program run
by one of the country’s most innovative police departments. The guns
they purchase are melted down and destroyed.

In answer to the
concern that the guns bought back and destroyed might include guns used
in a crime, the LAPD insists that the significant benefits from its
program of getting guns off its streets far outweigh the slim chance
that one of the weapons destroyed may have been used in a crime.

fact, the LAPD is now seeing tangible results from its buy-back
program. Its officers find fewer guns when responding to
domestic-violence incidents in which a Los Angeles ordinance requires
police-officers to temporarily confiscate firearms. Apparently, some of
the parties in these households have already decided it’s too dangerous
to continue owning firearms. And I’m convinced that even if hunters or
target shooters like me wouldn’t want to sell our guns, many others who
have a gun just lying around and don’t know how to get rid of it might.

in the wake of the brazen killings a few days ago of a District
Attorney and his wife, in their Texas home by a killer armed with
assault weapons, I’m also ready to propose that the buyback program
favor the removal of assault weapons from American streets. Together
with legislation to ban assault weapon ownership and make using them in a
crime punishable by a mandatory 25 year jail sentence, the buyback
program could well succeed in eliminating most of the 3 million assault
weapons in circulation. Sen. Diane Feinstein’s bill that exempts
hundreds of assault weapons and allows those who already possess one to
keep them, is still going nowhere in the Senate. So I think we should
restart the thinking on these weapons and aim high.

After all,
when the government wanted to ban machine-guns in the 1930s, nobody
talked about exempting some of them, or allowing existing owners of
machine guns to keep their lethal firearms. Today nobody laments the
disappearance of machine-guns from the American closet.

There is a
reason the LAPD and virtually every police department in the country
wants to eliminate assault weapons from the streets. Police officers are
increasingly outgunned and must fight back with one arm tied behind
their back because while the criminals can spray city streets with
bullets, the police have to worry about innocent bystanders.

enough of gun-legislation half-measures. It’s high time for legislators
to put the safety of our police-officers, and the mayhem in American
homes and streets before concerns about the consequences of opposing the
gun-lobby. I can assure them there are many gun owners like me who
would like to see strong regulations on firearms… now.

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