President Barack Obama is pledging to reinstate an assault weapons ban by January. He proposes removing all military style assault weapons and high powered magazines. If this ban goes into affect, what would it do to sales on the black market?
WLBT spoke with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about that issue and more importantly, how the possible ban could affect gun owners and if a ban will curb gun violence.
"When someone says an assault rifle, this is typically what they are talking about. It has a high capacity magazine. It seats into the firearm, you release the side and the firearm is ready to fire," said Resident Agent in Charge of the Jackson Field Office at ATF James Morris.
Short, compact and very powerful, the Colt M-4 Assault Rifle is the staple weapon for our military, state and local law enforcement. Morris said this is the type of weapon President Obama is proposing to ban.
"A partial ban, they would ban specifics in the type of firearm. Whether it's how many rounds a magazine can hold, or not. If it's a detachable magazine or if the magazine is configured into the firearm. But, if it's a full ban, then any weapon classified as an assault rifle by our lawmakers you could no longer purchase in this country," Morris said.
Which leads to the question, would the assault weapon sales on the black market then begin to surge?
"It's all about supply and demand. If the supply is no longer there of course the demand is going to go up and there will be individuals out there trying to obtain these weapons through whatever means they can," Morris said.
If you own an assault weapon or high capacity magazine before the possible ban is put in place, Morris said more than likely you will be able to legally keep that weapon unless lawmakers say otherwise. Morris reiterates, the ultimate goal of the proposal is to reduce the epidemic of gun violence.
"I don't know how much or how little it would control firearm violence in this country, but I do feel if it saves just one life than it's worth it," Morris said.
President Obama is urging the new congress that convenes Jan. 3, to vote as soon as possible on this proposal.
We want to know what you think about the possible ban on assault weapons. You can vote in our online poll on our home page.
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