"Although the constitution gives every citizen the right to bear arms, Marshall said there is no need for a regular citizen to possess these types of weapons." ------------------------------------------------------- www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060525/NEWS01/605250333/1007 Assault rifles concern police By Kirsten J. Barnes and Crystal Bonvillian Montgomery Advertiser Local law enforcement officials have worked at least four cases in the past month involving semi-automatic assault rifles, a rate that has caused some alarm. The Saturday shooting that left Michael Green, 20, of Montgomery on life support was committed with an assault rifle, according to police. Green, who was shot in the neck and the back, remained in critical condition Tuesday. Capt. Huey Thornton, a Montgomery police spokesman, said an assault rifle also was used in the May 14 slaying of 22-year-old Kimberly Davis at her Woodbrook Drive home. Thornton said although assault rifles like AK-47s and AR-15s are not used in a large percentage of the city's shootings, the Police Department is not going to be "reactive" to the situation. "We're going to take a more proactive approach to establish a crimefighting initiative to get these guns out of the hands of the people who shouldn't have them," Thornton said. "The chief is looking at some options of what can be done." The problem faced by law enforcement is that these guns are legal and no permit is required to own them. Both AK-47s and AR-15s are readily available at area pawn shops and gun stores for between $500 and $1,000 for a new gun and about $200 to $300 less for a used gun. The pawn shop tag was still on an AK-47 that sheriff's deputies found during a traffic stop last week in Hope Hull, said Montgomery County Sheriff D.T. Marshall. Marshall said deputies went to the Vista Del Verde neighborhood on a complaint stemming from an ongoing argument. When the deputies stopped some of the people involved, they found the assault rifle, four handguns and some marijuana. The suspects also had two 30-bullet rifle clips taped together. "They claimed they weren't going to pull any guns," Marshall said. "But you tape the clips together like that so when you use up one clip you can put another one right in." A modification also turned the gun into a fully automatic weapon, which can only be owned legally by law enforcement officers. Marshall said just a couple of days after that incident, deputies were called to an attempted suicide in which the man was threatening to use an assault rifle to kill himself. Although the constitution gives every citizen the right to bear arms, Marshall said there is no need for a regular citizen to possess these types of weapons. "Everybody has a right to own a gun, but there's only one reason for owning a gun like that -- killing people. There's no other use other than to kill people. That's all they're made for," Marshall said. Thornton said that most of these weapons are landing in the hands of convicted felons, who cannot possess firearms legally. Instead, they get them through theft by strangers or relatives. "People buy them for target practice and leave them in a vehicle or unsecured in their homes," Thornton said. "A gun with that much firepower needs to be in a metal gun safe that is bolted down. Citizens who are able to own these guns legally need to make sure that something that dangerous is protected."