Defining 'Assault Rifle'; Response to President's Gun Proposal - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Defining 'Assault Rifle'; Response to President's Gun Proposal

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The President's Gun Proposal outlines a 10-year plan for outlawing military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.  

A similar ban was enacted in 1994, but expired 10 years later. In the proposal, President Obama says manufacturers were able to circumvent the 1994 ban with modifications to their weapons. 

Several South Dakotans own these so-called ‘assault rifles'; they say it will be very difficult to create a law that pin-points exactly what rifles will be included in that ban. 

"What are they going to call and assault rifle? Are they going call bolt actions that have a 5 round clip or more, you know?" said Sioux Falls gun owner Jeff Justesen. 

Many Americans really don't know as this all sounds like a lot of technical gun speech. 

"A semi-automatic might, I mean it could actually be called a revolver as well because its single action, you can just pull the trigger and it will fire again," said Justesen. 

However, there a lot of those details and modifications will be considered in this assault weapons ban. 

"It's a slippery slope they're dealing with," said Justesen. 

But it's nothing Justesen hasn't gone through before. 

"I did have one pre-90s, I had a mini 14 which is like an AR, its just a Lugers version; I just kept it, they didn't come and get it, I just kept it," said Justesen. 

The President's plan Wednesday called for Congress to strengthen the prohibition on assault weapons from the 1990s ban, but Justesen and other rifle owners are concerned what ‘assault weapons' will include. 

"It's code for scary black guns, an assault rifle, I don't even know what that is supposed to mean? I know you can assault people with a regular hunting rifle, you can assault with a pistol," said Justesen. 

The South Dakota Open and Cary Vice President Jesse Rierson says military assault rifles, the kind that shoot three rounds with one pull of the trigger, are already outlawed to private citizens. 

"I don't know if there are any recorded cases of somebody with a fully automatic weapon legally owned that did any of those things," said Justesen. 

Both Rierson and Jestesen own high-power, semi-automatic rifles.

"I use them just for recreational shooting for the most part, I use them for coyote hunting...and you can use them for prairie dogs as well and then also of course self defense," said Jestesen. 

For many people in the nation, including lawmakers, who aren't familiar with the many different gun models and modifications, there are a lot of details in the assault weapons to figure out.  For instance, Rierson said many people assume a gun called an AR-15 stand for an assault rifle.  However, "AR" stand for the brand and make of the gun, ArmaLite Model 15.

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