Some Illinois lawmakers think banning assault weapons could bring more peace and less crime to Illinois. It's up for discussion in this week's so-called "lame-duck" General Assembly session. This comes after the Newtown, Connecticut shooting that resulted in 20 children and six adults dead. Gun-owners are loading up their stock in preparation for this possible ban. That means more transactions for one local weapons salesman.
What the government defines as "assault weapons" are flying off the shelves at Forest City Firearms.
"The volume of gun sales is unprecedented. There are a number of factors that contribute to that. Not only the pending anti-assault weapons legislation in Springfield but also the potential federal assault-weapons ban." -says Forest City Firearms owner Eric Sonnenberg.
Sonnenberg is completely out of the assault weapons he carries, namely the AR-15 and AK-47. The only one he has left is an AR-15, which is his own. He says these weapons are nowhere to be found.
"I do business with the top 10 or 12 distributors in the country and they are already all out of product."
And it's not just distributors. The companies making these guns don't have any to offer.
"Manufacturers are reluctant to produce large inventory, because if the ban gets here and they ban that particular gun, those manufacturers are going to get stuck with it because they won't be able to sell it." -says Sonnenberg.
While business is good now, if assault-weapons are prohibited, Sonnenberg could lose 60% to 70% of the types of guns he sells. He believes this ban will only put law-abiding citizens in more danger.
"We need to strengthen the laws and system of checks and balances to prevent these mentally unstable people from getting a hold of it."
Sonnenberg says a semi-automatic firearm that's considered an "assault-weapon" is actually beneficial to own when it comes to protecting your home, competition shooting, and for hunting. He also has different views from lawmakers about what an assault weapon is. The government defines it as any weapon with a detachable magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. This can include semi-automatic weapons. Sonnenberg defines assault weapons as fully-automatic, regardless of how many rounds they can hold. Those have been heavily regulated since the 1930's, you need special permission to own them.
Sonnenberg and other gun-owners are waiting to see the language in this possible assault weapons ban. It could contain a Grandfather Clause stating the law doesn't apply to all assault weapon purchasers who bought before the ban.
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