Are semi-automatic firearms evil devices created solely for murdering a lot of innocent people at once? The Denver Police Department doesn't think so; the Department, like many others in the United States, has begun equipping its officers with AR-15 semiautomatic rifles. The police emphasize that the rifles are accurate, and that officers are taught to use the rifles to end a dangerous situation with just a single shot.
But if you believe President Clinton and the rest of the anti-gun movement, the Denver Police Department and their colleagues around the nation have gone nuts. Several few weeks ago, President Clinton made his bureaucrats ban the import of 58 types of semi-automatic rifles because "You do not need an Uzi to go deer hunting and you do not need an AK-47 to go skeet shooting."
But Clinton's comment made no sense. He might as well have banned swimsuits by claiming "Nobody needs swimsuits to go mountain climbing." Of course you can't hunt deer with an Uzi; Uzis are pistols, and therefore can't be used for deer hunting, since they're too low-powered. The AK-47 is a Communist machine gun, and (despite what the President thinks) can hardly be found in the United States, outside of firearms museums. If the President ever went skeet shooting, he would discover that the sport requires a shotgun; you can't hunt skeet with a rifle of any type, including an AK-47.
The guns that Clinton banned are semi-automatic rifles which fire no faster than common hunting rifles, but which are made by foreign manufacturers, and which are cosmetically different from American-made guns. Supposedly, the guns are banned because they're not suited for "sporting purposes," and the Gun Control Act of 1968 allows the federal government to prohibit the import of "non-sporting weapons." But sports had nothing to do with it; White House plans to ban as many guns as possible have been publicly stated. The gun-banner-in-Chief knows as much about the shooting sports as he does about medieval Arabic poetry.
In the same vein of ignorance as President Clinton, Dr. Jerome Kassirer (Editor In Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine) recently demanded a ban of all semi-automatic firearms. He asserts that the guns "are worse than useless" and that "They are of no value for hunting, and their use for
target practice seems dispensable."
In fact, many semi-automatic rifles (such as the Marlin Camp Carbine, or the Valmet Hunter) are designed specifically for hunting, and almost all semi-automatic rifles (except for a few very heavy models) are used for hunting.
What about firearms ownership for the protection of innocent lives? That's why the Denver Police Department is acquiring AR-15s, not for hunting.