NEWS OF THE WEIRD

Machine Gun by Another Name

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Which is more characteristically American – that a Texas company could invent an ordinary rifle that mimics a machine gun or that America's incomparable legal minds could find a loophole in existing anti-machine-gun laws to permit it to be manufactured and sold? The Slide Fire company's weapon can spray bullets "like a fire hose" from a legal, semiautomatic gun by simple application of muscle, yet an official opinion of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives acknowledges the agency is powerless to regulate it because of the wording in 1934 and 1986 legislation that otherwise restricts private ownership of machine guns. One gun shop owner told London's Daily Mail in September that the Slide Fire rifle is "not as easy" to use as a machine gun, but still, "it's fairly idiot-proof."

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