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It’s Time to Bite the Bullet and Ban Assault Weapons

Congress members in Washington and state legislators in California should be as fearless and quick on the draw in taking action banning the sale of military assault weapons as was Randy Garell, president of the Grant Boys store in Costa Mesa.

Garell, who is one of Orange County’s largest retailers of guns, decided to pull the military assault weapons, such as the AK-47, from his shelves after a gunman several days ago killed five children and wounded 30 others in a massacre in a Stockton elementary schoolyard. Garell was also responding to a plea from Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates and others for a statewide ban on the weapons. Gates came to Costa Mesa last Monday to support Garell and urge other gun sellers to follow his lead.

Garell deserves such support. He put responsibility and public safety over profit. Unfortunately, not enough gun sellers have Garell’s sense of humanity, and they are continuing to supply buyers with the deadly weapon whose sole purpose is to kill with savage efficiency. Tragically, its targets are children in a schoolyard, police officers and innocent victims of drive-by shootings. Those instruments of violent death will continue to be sold and resold until such sales are banned.

Some legislators are reacting. There is a bill in Congress to outlaw assault rifles, and another, even stricter state bill is scheduled to be introduced in Sacramento on Monday. But bills controlling gun sales have been introduced before, only to be shot down by the gun lobby. This time they must be passed and signed into law .

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Military assault weapons are designed for use on the battlefield; they have no business being sold in the community. Randy Garell realized that and has stopped selling them. It is time that other gun dealers--and our lawmakers--came to the same conclusion.


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