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Published January 16, 2013, 12:01 PM

Vast majority of guns seen by Fargo Police are legal

Fargo-Moorhead (WDAY TV) - In national gun control talks, assault-style weapons are usually always included in the conversation. Fargo Police say it's a common misunderstanding; people assume assault-style means illegal.

Fargo-Moorhead (WDAY TV) - In national gun control talks, assault-style weapons are usually always included in the conversation. Fargo Police say it's a common misunderstanding; people assume assault-style means illegal.

Assault-style simply means semi-automatic, and Fargo Police say they encounter similar guns on a regular basis. 99% of the time, they're perfectly legal.

Lt. Joel Vettel – Fargo Police: "Most of the time it is a legal weapon that's used inappropriate, whether illegally or to harm an individual."

That's the main problem for the Fargo Police. Just take our recent robberies. Police say in most cases, legal weapons - like handguns, rifles, shotguns -- are used in a dangerous way. It's rare to run into an actual "illegal" firearm.

Lt. Joel Vettel: "Whether it's a sawed off shotgun, or it might be a weapon that's become an automatic weapon instead of a semi-automatic weapon"

Fargo Police say their biggest battle, quickly determining which guns are against the law, and which aren't.

Lt. Joel Vettel: "Sometimes you really have to look at whether it's truly an illegal weapon, or whether it's been modified."

Meantime in rural areas, for the Cass County Sheriff Office, it hardly ever deals with guns.

Corporal Dean Haaland: "It's not a daily thing, not even a weekly thing."

When it does happen, it's hardly ever hostile. When deputies confiscate guns, it's usually planned out, and court-ordered.

Corporal Dean Haaland: “We take those away from community members, for safekeeping. If they've been charged with domestic violence, we have to seize the guns for safekeeping."

Most of the time, the community gets those confiscated guns back when the threat is gone. Officers only keep guns if they are evidence or if they're illegal.

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