HARRISBURG, Pa., June 14 -- Thousands of gun control opponents rallied outside the Capitol building Tuesday to protest Gov. Robert P. Casey's proposed ban on assault weapons.
Undeterred by suffocating heat and humidity, more than 3,000 people waved signs urging lawmakers to reject a bill that would ban the sale or possession of 45 types of semiautomatic weapons.
'Too many people believe that killing the Second Amendment will eliminate violent crime, but they are wrong,' said Bonita Hoke, executive director of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmens Clubs. 'Our right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.'
Alan Krug, state legislative liason for the National Rifle Association, told the protesters, 'I don't believe there's ever been a bigger fraud perpetrated on the public than the so-called assault weapon issue.'
Rally speakers urged the demonstrators to register to vote and work to unseat lawmakers who support gun control.
Casey unveiled his plan March 8, calling it 'reasonable legislation. .. that will impose new standards of responsibility for gun ownership.'
The proposal would allow people who already own banned weapons to keep them, but only if the firearms are registered with the state police. Assault weapons could be sold only to licensed gun dealers, who could sell only to other dealers or out-of-state residents.
The measure would also ban the possession of semiautomatic weapons by minors. Minors could possess other firearms, but only for adult- supervised activities like hunting or target shooting.
The list of weapons covered by the proposed ban includes the MAC-10, UZI, AK-47, and Streetsweeper, a 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun.NEWLN: (edited by Harold Martin, New York)