I know Herb so I wrote him a polite letter.
Here's the letter I sent to the editor covering both pieces:
With all good intentions I’m sure, Mr. Meeker fell into the same trap that has been plaguing the media for years. What they call AK-47’s are NOT being used by criminals in the US nor are they being purchased here to be smuggled into Mexico. An AK-47 is a weapon that will continue to fire as long as the trigger is depressed. That is known as “fully automatic”. To purchase a fully-automatic weapon, one has to go through a rigorous background check, obtain a special license, and pay a $200 tax. The general going price for any one is rarely less than $4000. What is generally available in the US are “SEMI-automatic” . One pull of the trigger fires one bullet. One. That’s it. To fire another you have to pull the trigger again. While they may look like real AK’s, they are not. They are no different from any semi-automatic rifle (just like many hunting rifles) except in appearance.
The Assault Weapon Ban of 1994 also did not ban any firearms. What it did was restrict multiple cosmetic features such as bayonet mounts and pistol grips. A firearm without several of these features were still perfectly legal to purchase and own. They functioned no differently than “pre-ban” firearms. One pull of the trigger. One bullet. In fact, all the ones made previous to the law were still legal to own, sell, and purchase. They were just more expensive.