Assault-rifle ban faces criticism in Miami-Dade


The owner of a Hialeah factory that assembles AR-15 rifles is not happy with the president’s assault-rifle measure.

Entrepreneurs, customers and security-field instructors in Miami-Dade criticized President Barack Obama’s measures Thursday to ban the sale of assault rifles among others that seek to tighten gun control in the country.

Antonio “Tony” Vega, owner of Code Red Firearms, a Hialeah factory that specializes in assembling AR-15 rifles, said that the measure will prompt a substantial increase in the sale of those weapons in the black market.

“It’s a totally wrong measure. It will be catastrophic,” Vega said. “This will backfire on the government because banning assault rifles will lead to more speculation, and these weapons will be more coveted and traded without control in the black market.”


Vega, who ran unsuccessfully for the Hialeah City Council in 2011, said that during the recent presidential campaign high-caliber rifles had a gradual increase in price, “probably due to Obama’s imminent reelection.”

“It was expected that with his reelection, Obama was going to implement a harder policy against weapons,” Vega said. “Anticipating any ban, people began to buy more and more of this type of rifles.”

The price of AR-15 rifles assembled in Hialeah went up to the point of doubling — from a little more than $900 to $1,800 after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at a school in Connecticut.

Code Red Firearms began to assemble those rifles in Hialeah six months ago. Each rifle, which is a civilian version of the models used by U.S. troops, bears the name of Hialeah. The parts are originally produced at Code Red Firearms’ headquarters in Detroit.

“But with this measure, it is most likely that we will have to lay off the employees,” Vega said. “What is being done here is punish those of us who have a legal enterprise and keep a register of arms sales, to finally favor those who are in the black market. It’s a tremendous mistake.”

Among the 23 executive orders signed by Obama and Vice President Joe Biden — which do not require congressional approval — is also the obligation to verify criminal records for all arms sales. It was also proposed that state authorities share their database of criminal records at the federal level.

Entrepreneur Alex Pérez, owner of Florida Gun Center in Hialeah, said that currently all arms sales at legal stores are properly verified.


“One of the main problems is the private sales between people who do not report these transactions,” Pérez said. “The people who perform in a legal scenario will continue to do it. I believe that the issue is not to approve more rules but to make sure that the existing ones are enforced.”

Husband and wife Pedro and Lázara Hernández, who were practicing Wednesday at FPI shooting gallery in Hialeah, said that the authorities should focus on providing the best security to public places such as schools.

“I’m in favor of arms for protection,” said Lázara, a mother of two. “With all that is happening, I think there should be better protection at schools.”

Instructor Ike Mont-Ros, who works in Hialeah, said that the measures to tighten gun control usually focus on arms and not users.

“Weapons are instruments that grant a power that carries a great responsibility,” said Mont-Ros. “I think every owner of a weapon should be well trained, which is seldom the case.”

Read more Top Stories stories from the Miami Herald

System designer Andy Dobrowolski looks on as the 200,000-gallon tank (actually two connected tanks) at Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters in Marathon is filled.

    Going with the flow: Water trickles into new Florida Keys aquarium

    Watching water trickle slowly into an empty 200,000-gallon fish tank isn't that far off from watching grass grow or paint dry.

 <span class="cutline_leadin">FAMILY BONDS:</span> The De Soto family, Dan, Marilyn and son Matthew, 13, help fill Easter baskets at St. Louis Catholic Church in Pinecrest, on Palm Sunday.  Volunteers from the church filled and delivered 1,800 baskets containing candy and snacks for children and toiletries and personal items for seniors. The church works with charities, hospitals and other churches.

    Easter Sunday

    South Florida faithful approach Easter as a time for service

    In the weeks leading up to Easter, church members have gone into overdrive, making goodie bags for the homeless, filling Easter baskets and distributing food to help those in need.

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, left, and center Chris Bosh watch from the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wednesday, April 16, 2014 in Miami. The 76ers defeated the Heat 100-87.


    Greg Cote: Dynasty or dismantling for the Miami Heat?

    A Heat playoff run is the annual gift we slowly unwrap together, our two-month emotional thrill ride ever since LeBron James grandly announced he was “taking my talents to South Beach” that summer night in 2010. Well, buckle up again, South Florida. Prepare for exhilarating highs and work-productivity lows. Prepare for late nights walking drained from the downtown bayside arena. Prepare for hearts to soar or plunge on whether a basketball swishes through a nylon net or bonks off a painted rim.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category