The SKS semiautomatic rifle that a St. Paul man used used to kill six hunters and wound two others is often misrepresented as an “assault” rifle, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The popular “sporterized,” or hunting, version used by some deer hunters was not covered by the federal assault weapons ban that recently expired. The trigger of the semiautomatic SKS must be pulled each time to fire a round.
The SKS is relatively cheap, retailing at one store for $189, compared to $1,000 or more for more commonly used deer-hunting rifles. Its 7.62-by-39-millimeter ammunition is also cheap: A box of 40 rounds costs $7.99. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush, in a presidential order, banned the import of SKS rifles from China after a mass shooting with an assault rifle in Stockton, Calif. Since then, SKS rifles manufactured in Russia and Yugoslovia have been imported into the United States. The Violence Policy Center, a Washington-based group advocating gun control, yesterday called on President Bush to use his executive authority to ban all foreign-made assault rifles.