I've been 'into' semi-automatic weapons for as long as I could remember. I've always liked the looks of the sleek M-16s carried by the military when I was a kid. I mean what kid doesn't, right? When I joined the service, I actually got to shoot one. Wow, you know? A childhood dream come true. I also found the look of the AK alluring. It was the forbidden fruit, the 'preferred weapon of our enemy' as Clint Eastwood put it in "Heartbreak Ridge".
I'd always wanted one when I got out on my own, it was just that I never had the money, or a place to keep them, or they couldn't be found (or so I thought at the time). Then, in the winter of 2004, I found one. I had the money. I had a place to keep it. The stars, the sun, the moon, and the planets all lined up. That night, I came home from the gunstore with a Maadi MISR S/A. Not the greatest AK variant on the market, but it was an AK nonetheless. I couldn't believe I had one. I couldn't stop staring at it. I couldn't put it down.
Owning an AK is a lot of work. Not just the old elbow grease one puts into cleaning it, but research into the legalities surrounding possession of such a weapon. It didn't take me long to learn about the "Assault Weapons Ban" of 1994. Reading the text of the law, I couldn't believe the things that were illegal. You could have a pistol grip and a standard capacity magazine, but no bayonet lug. Or threaded muzzle. This was ridiculous. And I waited, with baited breath, for that fateful day in September when this ridiculous law would expire. Oh, there were attempts to reinstate it. But they failed. And on September 13 2004, it went the way of the Edsel. A waste of time and taxpayers money. From that day on, I haven't looked back.
Since that fateful day in 2004, I have purchased almost two dozen AK rifles of different chamberings. Sold a few, and have built a few. Since 2006, there have been two bills introduced in Congress that should put gunowners on edge. The first, H.R. 1022 would reinstate the 1994 ban, but with teeth. Not only would this bill ban the "assault weapons" listed in the old ban, but it would increase those weapons to include ones not covered originally. Standard hunting rifles such as the Browning BAR, Remington 7600, classic military rifles such as the M-1 Garand and M-1 carbine would fall under this new ban. Shotguns like the Benelli M-4, Remingtons 1100 and 1187 would all go away. It would also place in the hands of the Attorney General, the power to regulate which rifles, shotguns, and pistols would be affected and which ones wouldn't. Even use of one of these rifles, shotguns, or pistols in sporting competitions wouldn't exempt them from regulation.
The other bill that should scare all gunowners to their very core is H.R. 45. The Blair Holt Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009. The intent of this bill is to require owners of handguns and semi automatic rifles (regardless of whether they are "assault weapons" or not) that accept detachable magazines to register them with the government. This bill would require a passport photo, a thumbprint, passing a test deemed appropriate by the AG, and a fee to keep or acquire any pistol or semi-auto rifle. What this bill would do is create a registration database. Of all the things to come out this Congress so far, in my opinion, this is the most unAmerican one to date. And this includes what they have done with the so-called 'Stimulus Bill'; the largest single appropriations bill ever introduced in Congress.