Gun Rights Group Heralds End of 'Assault Weapons' Ban

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:22 PM EDT

( - A Second Amendment rights group is hailing the end of the so-called assault weapons ban, saying "ten years of deception is finally over."

The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) pointed out Monday that the law did not ban ownership of so-called "assault rifles." The law only prevented the continued production of those firearms, based solely on cosmetic features, not caliber or function.

"The ban, in a nutshell, was one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated by anti-gunners on the American public in the history of this nation," said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb.

People still owned pre-ban firearms and production of new guns without such features as bayonet lugs, collapsible stocks or flash suppressors has flourished, the group noted.

"Studies by the Centers for Disease and Control, and for the National Institute of Justice, strongly suggest the ban had a negligible effect, if any, on crime. Ultimately, this ban -- passed in the heyday of the Clinton Administration -- was proven to be nothing more than symbolic in nature," Gottlieb said in a statement.

"America has matured in the post-9/11 world, and we expect substance over symbolism, not only in the interest of national security, but also in our efforts to guarantee public safety," he added.

Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry criticized President Bush for not doing more to make sure the ban was extended.

"Today George Bush made the job of terrorists easier and made the job of America's law enforcement officers harder and that's just plain wrong," said Kerry. But White House press secretary Scott McClellan challenged Kerry's comment as "another false attack," adding that the best way to fight gun violence is to enforce the laws already on the books.

"The absurdity of supporters for this failed abomination against our firearm civil rights has become evident in recent months," Gottlieb said. "Proponents of the ban have been spreading fear and hysteria, insisting for example that perpetuation of this fraud is now necessary to keep guns from falling into the hands of terrorists.

"Sadly," he said, "enforcement of this ban has distracted law enforcement from far more important responsibilities. And there's something else. This law, like many gun control laws, focused on firearms and their appearance instead of focusing on criminals and their crimes."

But the good news, according to Gottlieb is that the public "has wised up, and has turned its back on the bankrupt 'blame the gun' mentality." He said only the "die-hard extremists" cling to the past.

"America now understands that the problem is not what a common criminal or terrorist lunatic has in his hands, but in his heart," Gottlieb said. "If this ban proved anything, it's that legislating against the rights of law-abiding citizens never stopped a single criminal from breaking the law."

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