Nathaniel Dixon had been thinking of buying an assault rifle. The ban being debated by the Maryland General Assembly cemented the deal, says the Baltimore Sun. Dixon walked away from a gun show Saturday pleased with his $1,100 Olympic Arms .223-caliber semiautomatic, a formidable-looking weapon of military appearance that is nearly 3 feet long. He intends to shoot turkeys. Said Dixon: “I wanted to beat the ban.”
“The legislature is my best salesman,” said Sanford Abrams, vice president of the Maryland Licensed Firearms Dealers Association. “Before now, I haven’t sold but one a month of these assault rifles. Now I’m selling as many as three a day in the shop.”
A federal ban on automatic assault rifles expires in September. A new survey by Gonzales Research of Annapolis found that 74 percent of 818 Maryland voters support banning “military-style semiautomatic assault weapons.” “These are weapons designed for warfare,” said Leah Barrett of CeaseFire Maryland, a gun-control group that paid for the poll. “Their only purpose is to kill people as fast as possible.”
Most of the more than 2,000 people who packed the gun show disagree. They say anti-gun zealots have blurred the distinction between semiautomatic rifles, which fire one bullet each time the trigger is pulled, and fully automatic weapons, which continue to fire as long as the trigger is pressed. Fully automatic weapons are already severely restricted; the proposed state ban affects semiautomatic assault rifles.