Experts explain difference between full, semi-automatic firearms

Experts explain difference between full, semi-automatic firearms

MIDLAND COUNTY, TX (KWES) - After the mass shooting, some of you have been asking us about fully automatic firearms. They look similar to semi-automatic firearms but one setting makes a big difference.

Only 1 bullet shoots out the barrel every time you pull the trigger of a semi-automatic firearm, but 1 trigger pull of the automatic firearm means an empty magazine.

Tony Grijalva, owner and manager at Family Armory & Indoor Gun Range, said many people purchase a full automatic firearms, simply to add to their collection.

"The law says you can have it. If you are not otherwise prohibited from owning a firearm then you can go ahead and get one," said Grijalva. "Some people exercise that right and that's their prerogative to own one."

They're not as easy to purchase as one of your more standard guns, you have to pay an additional fee and give more background information to the the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

"It takes months for the paperwork to go through, then you can make the purchase," said Grijalva. "After that, they'll know who you are."

The process to sell an full automatic firearm is so extensive, Grijalva doesn't even have them in his shop.

"When it comes to disposing them or transferring them from me as a dealer to the customer, there are certain legal steps involved, paperwork wise," said Grijalva. "Until I am competent and confident in doing that in a way that's not going to get me or my business in trouble, it's something I'm not going to do."

Full or semi-automatic, Grijalva doesn't think it makes a difference if the firearm lands in the wrong hands.

"There's a difference between good people using a firearm and a bad person using a firearm," said Grijalva. "From our point of view, it's not the firearm, it's what in the person's heart."

Grijalva said many times after an owner of a fully automatic weapon dies law enforcement will show up to collect the gun to prevent it from ending up in the wrong hands.

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