Dealers Push Assault Weapon Upgrades.
Gun companies are offering to beef up firearms by adding high-tech accouterments and high-capacity ammunition clips — accessories that were outlawed in certain combinations until Congress let the assault weapons ban expire in the fall.
The companies make no secret of the fact that they are capitalizing on the expiration of the ban.
Critics of the gun industry say assault weapons are too powerful to allow civilians to own them. They say they can be deadly in the wrong hands, believe they helped fuel gang violence in recent years and say there is no reason that hunters need to carry such potent firearms.
But thousands are sold each year — there are about 2 million circulating in the United States — and they hold a special allure for some gun aficionados.
After lobbying by the NRA, Congress declined to reinstate the law in September 2004, though the ban had widespread support among the public and the law enforcement community. A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers wants to reinstitute the ban, but the NRA and industry leaders said they were prepared for the fight.
(4-15-05, The Los Angeles Times.)