Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Assault Rifle Ban's Effect in New Jersey Debated

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Assault Rifle Ban's Effect in New Jersey Debated

Article excerpt

Another mass murder over the weekend with a semiautomatic AR-15 assault-style rifle led to renewed calls from Democrats on Monday to expand background checks and ban some weapons nationwide.

But one advocate for gun rights said a 26-year-old New Jersey law that specifically bans the AR-15 and weapons like it was just a "feel good" effort that did little to stop crime -- or to stop someone from getting a modified weapon with similar firepower.

Authorities continued to investigate the reasons 29-year-old Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured 50 more at an Orlando nightclub on Sunday before he was killed by police. FBI Director James Comey said there was no immediate evidence the attack was directed from outside the United States, but it was clear the killer was "radicalized."

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, blasted President Obama for the way he has dealt with the Islamic State. Trump also renewed his call to ban Muslim immigrants and called on Muslims in this country to turn in anyone with suspected ties to terrorism "forthwith."

Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, spoke of banning assault weapons, something her husband, President Bill Clinton, did in a law that had a 10-year "sunset" clause and expired in 2004.

"It's essential that we stop terrorists from getting the tools they need to carry out the attack," Clinton said. "And that is especially true when it comes to assault weapons like those used in Orlando and San Bernardino. I believe weapons of war have no place on our streets."

The AR-15 was also used in December when 14 people were killed in an attack at an office party in San Bernardino, Calif.

Anticipating efforts to ban weapons would lead to a spike in demand, Wall Street bid up the stocks of gun makers on Monday, Bloomberg News reported. Shares of Smith & Wesson were up 6.87 percent over Friday's close, to $22.88. Sturm Ruger shares closed at $62.29, up 8.5 percent.

Owners and managers at about a dozen Bergen and Passaic gun shops declined to comment Monday about the weekend tragedy or how it might affect sales.

Alexander Roubian, president of the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, said talking about new gun laws was a distraction. …

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