Impact of the assault weapons ban

Sunday, September 12th 2004, 8:40 pm
By: News On 6

"It's just gonna be more deaths and more murders on the streets." 31 year old Chris Bell says he's living proof that guns can affect lives. "Look at me. I'm blind."

This former gang member turned preacher was shot in the head 13 years ago which left him blind. Then in 1994 his close friend was shot to death. He says lifting the ban allowing more weapons to be on the streets could threaten Tulsans lives and their communities.

"What would people do with these types of guns. Like machine guns and tech 9's of course, they're not going to the shooting range to just shoot that's just stating that people are killing each other with it."

2003 broke Tulsa's homicide record with 69 deaths. Tulsa police are joining officers nationwide to encourage lawmakers to extend the ban for another ten years, but Sergeant Van Ellis with Tulsa's Gang Unit doesn't believe the ban has reduced violent crimes.

"Obviously coming off a record year of murders, it's not apparent that has had a direct affect on Tulsa."

He says police confiscate assault weapons occasionally, but the weapons of choice are mainly handguns. Ellis says people who use guns to commit crimes are not buying them in gun stores but off the streets in exchange for drugs. He says regardless of what happens, it won't stop police from doing their job.

" Felons that are in possession of firearms or people in possession of illegal firearms have been prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law in the past and I anticipate that will continue in the future."