John Monson, owner of Bill's Gun Shop: "The bad guys don't really care what the law is"
Monson: "People that would use these elements with the wrong intent, they aren't buying them legally anyway."
Gun control, including the possibility of a renewed crackdown on semi-automatics, is a hot topic following last week's Newtown school shooting.
But would new state or federal legislation have the desired impact of reducing and ideally preventing gun violence? According to John Monson, owner of the Bill's Gun Shop chain, the answer is no.
Back in 2004, just as a 10-year federal ban on certain types of assault weapons was expiring, Monson was interviewed by NPR's Scott Simon. Simon asked him why people like buying and shooting semi-automatic rifles like the Bushmaster AR-15 used in Newtown.
"The guns are just fun to shoot," Monson said.
Monson explained that the federal ban didn't prevent him from legally selling AR-15s and AK-47s. All it did was make it illegal to sell semi-automatics with certain features, like bayonet plugs, compensators that reduce muzzle flash, and foldable or collapsible stocks.
"You hear the people that are for this ban not expiring say, 'Watch out, these guns are coming to your neighborhood,'" Monson said. "Well, I'm here to tell you that these guns never went away and we've been selling them for 10 years perfectly legally, but they don't have a bayonet plug on them or they don't have a compensator at the end of the barrel."
And ultimately, people who want to use semi-automatics violently will find a way to get them whether they're legal or not, Monson said.
"For 95 percent of the population, they are going to follow the laws whether no matter if they are federal or state level," Monson said. "The bad guys dont really care what the law is."
If you'd like to listen to the whole interview, here it is:
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