Come Monday, Americans will be able to buy semiautomatic assault rifles again as the 10-year ban on these weapons expires. Fears of raising the gun-control issue in an election year, along with intense lobbying by the National Rifle Association, pretty much killed any chance of extending the ban, even though President Bush and his challenger, John Kerry, have both said they favor an extension. Meanwhile, gun manufacturers are getting ready to cash in. Beretta USA will throw in a couple of free large-volume magazines with the purchase of certain guns, and Armalite is aggressively seeking orders for weapons banned since 1994.
— Tony Long