In a "Dear Colleague" to fellow House members, Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) warned late Thursday that if Congress approves PNTR for China, it will reopen a loophole for Beijing to resume flooding the U.S. market with cheap semi-automatic weapons.
At issue is the effect that passage of PNTR will have on the current ban of cheap, Chinese-made semi-automatic assault rifles. Pelosi, Stark and McCarthy explained that, under WTO regulations, the U.S. would be required to treat foreign and domestic goods identically. And, since these weapons are legal in the U.S., China will be able to challenge the U.S. embargo of these dangerous firearms.
The original embargo was issued in 1994 as a result of a flood of cheap semi-automatic rifles to the U.S. In 1993, importers brought in almost one million Chinese rifles Ė more rifles than made by all U.S. manufacturers in 1992.
"They were particularly popular among neo-naziís, white supremacists and street gangs," the legislators wrote. "What made them so popular, according to police, was their power and their price Ė only $55.95."
The most popular import was the SKS semi-automatic rifle, once a standard weapon among East Bloc forces and used against U.S. troops in Vietnam. The SKS was the fourth most frequently traced firearm in America Ė surprising since handguns, not rifles, tend to be the guns that criminals use most.
"If Congress approves PNTR, World Trade Organization regulations will apply to the U.S. ban of gun imports from China," Pelosi, Stark and McCarthy concluded. "Donít allow China to sell these cheap, dangerous assault weapons on the streets of America. Donít give China the power to decide gun policy in the United States."
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