If you can’t tell the difference between an AK-47, explicitly banned as an assault weapon in California since 1989, and the Russian American Armory Co.’s Saiga, available for purchase at gun stores locally, neither can Steve Harding the Sacramento County Sheriff’s in-house firearms expert, reports the Sacramento Bee. “The round (it fires) is the same and the mechanism is the same,” he said. “It’s basically the same thing.”
Assault weapons, as defined by California law, refer to semi-automatic guns – ones that fire one round per trigger pull. Fully automatic ones fire multiple rounds per trigger pull, and are banned by federal law except for those holding special permits. Dr. Garen Wintemute, an emergency physician and violence expert at the University of California Davis, said this practice created a massive loophole for gun manufacturers. “If you ban the Uzi by name, they’ll call it the ‘Ozzie’ and bring it back,” he said.