SAINT LOUIS PARK, Minn. - Even gun dealers often refer to some of their sales as "assault weapons", even though they believe that is a misnomer. "Military style rifle" is more appropriate to dealers.
There is a feeling that non-gun owners do not necessarily understand the basics of the gun control effort. That is, they are not aware of which weapons are which and what each can do.
Kory Krause, owner of the Frontiersman gun shop in Saint Louis Park, explained the differences to Kare11's Allen Costantini on Tuesday while guns were selling briskly at the counters around them.
Krause showed an M-16 military style rifle, like the one carried by millions of American soldiers for many years. He demonstrated the switch on the side of the weapon which allows the user to quickly switch from "safety" to "Semi" to "Auto". The rifle is capable of being fully automatic in the "auto" setting. That means, the weapon will continue to fire once the trigger is depressed until the trigger is released.
If the switch is in the "semi" setting, the trigger must be pulled each time in order to fire one round. That is the function of the AR-15, the civilian version of the M-16. It is the semi-automatic military-style weapons, like the AR-15, at the center of the gun control debate, since they so closely resemble the fully automatic rifles.
The M-16 at the Frontiersman was not for sale. It is Krause personal property. However, he emphasized that not everyone can own such a weapon. "Lots of hoops to own it. I can own this as a dealer and I can own it personally as well," said Krause. Obtaining a fully automatic (and very expensive) rifle requires more extensive background checks than those currently required for semi-automatic rifles.
Another issue in the gun control debate at the state and federal levels is the size and type of ammunition clips or magazines. The federal proposal is to limit clips to 10 rounds or fewer.
"The standard issue clip is 30 rounds," Krause explained. He displayed a number of clips, including one that holds 100 rounds. "We do have those and, actually, they do not work very well which is why more people did not die in the movie theatre in Colorado."
The shooter in the Aurora, Colorado incident was trying to use a 100 round clip in a semi-automatic rifle when the gun jammed.
According to Krause, many gun users and dealers are concerned about a state proposal that would restrict sales of any gun, rifle, pistol or shotgun, that accepts a "detachable" clip.
"In a nutshell, it would ban about 85% of the guns in this store, right now," said Krause. The gun dealer demonstrated how common deer rifles and .22 caliber rifles often have detachable magazines, along with handguns like the popular Glock. Glocks, often carried by police departments, have a 15 round detachable magazine.
Gun control measures are under consideration this week at the Minnesota Legislature in Saint Paul.
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