Monday, April 25, 2005

Even the NYT recognizes it: "Despite dire predictions that the streets would be awash in military-style guns, the expiration of the decade-long assault weapons ban last September has not set off a sustained surge in the weapons' sales, gun makers and sellers say. It also has not caused any noticeable increase in gun crime in the past seven months, according to several metropolitan police departments. The uneventful expiration of the assault weapons ban did not surprise gun owners..."

Knives to be banned? "The number of weapons offences involving knives in the city has spiked, prompting city police to prepare reports for Crown attorneys on the skyrocketing statistics. Police hope the reports, which will be provided when someone convicted of a weapon offence is sentenced, will show judges that the use of knives is a dangerous trend in London. "We're hoping to send a message," deputy chief Tony McGowan said yesterday. Police hope the statistics will convince judges to impose stiffer sentences for weapons offences, he said. In 2003, London police investigated 165 offences involving knives, compared to 190 in 2004 and 63 in the first three months of this year -- a 50 per cent increase compared to the same time period in 2004. If the trend continues, police are on pace to investigate 250 offences involving knives this year, McGowan said. "It's disturbing," he told the police services board at its monthly meeting yesterday. "We recognize that weapons are a significant issue we're facing as a police service and that the community is facing.""

Gun lessons at school: "In Arizona, Governor Janet Napolitano has just signed into law Senate Bill 1271. This law makes her state the first in the nation that will authorize school districts to offer classes in marksmanship and gun-safety as high school electives: The voluntary, one-semester elective is among the first in the nation, according to advocates. But many administrators in the [Phoenix] Valley say their budgets and schedules are over-taxed as it is, and offering an elective that doesn't relate to life skills or state standards isn't in the cards. Al Korwin anticipated that tepid response. The Phoenix gun-law publisher initiated discussion of the bill, which Sen. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa, introduced in January. Korwin said he knew schools would be uncomfortable with the course because "a lot of teachers are fearful of guns." Rex Powers isn't one of them. The Wickenburg High School art teacher and coach of one of the country's few high-powered-rifle teams has seen the self-discipline that working with firearms instills in students. But Powers fears losing time available to teach other courses. "It's a good idea because we live in a state where there are a lot of firearms, and learning how to handle them responsibly is important," Powers said. "But we have enough on our hands. As long as it's voluntary, it's great. If it's going to cost the school district money, I'm not really for it.""

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