Even with reconstruction of gun laws, some could still be sold

by: Andrew Doud Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Many lawmakers have already suggested more permanent and broad changes to gun laws. Some even think we should put a federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 back in place.

Eyewitness News looked through the rules in that ban and discovered even with it, guns similar to the ones used in Connecticut and the Colorado theater shooting could still be bought and sold legally.

"None of these is an assault rifle. By definition, an assault rifle has to be able to go on to full automatic and nothing that we sell here will do that," said Roger Askew of the Hyatt Gun Shop in west Charlotte.

Askew is a former paratrooper and an expert when it comes to rifles.

He pulled out several guns for Eyewitness News to look at from a World War II service rifle, to an AR-15 and AK-47 to a more traditional looking rifle used for deer hunting.

Police said Adam Lanza used a variation of it Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary. People said that they use that type of gun for hunting because it's lightweight and they like its features.

The rifles look different, but they fire the same way, they are semi-automatic which means that one pull of the trigger files one round and a new one is automatically loaded.

"Even the gun that looks like a military rifle, it's not possible for the average person to convert this gun back into a full automatic firearm. It can't be done. The internal parts don't fit," said Askew.

Under the federal ban in place from 1994 to 2004, these type of guns would be considered illegal, but not because they are semi-automatic; rather because of certain external parts that could be changed or eliminated -- but the firing mechanics of the gun could remain the same.

Askew said even if they were to restore the federal ban, it would not eliminate the core capability of the gun used Friday.