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SKS rifle banned item

The Chinese rifle that Secret Service agents said a gunman used Saturday has been illegal to import into the United States since May, federal officials said.

While the standard model of the semiautomatic rifle, called an SKS, is not classified as an assault weapon and was not one of the 19 weapons banned in the crime bill passed in August, its importation was banned by President Clinton as a condition of the most-favored nation status granted China earlier this year.

Other facts about the SKS rifle:

The rifle resembles the American-made Garand M-1 rifle used in World War II and the Korean War.

The version of the SKS sold with a detachable magazine was banned in 1989.