Argument: Semi-automatic assault weapons are often misrepresented

Issue Report: Assault weapons ban in the United States


ABC News did it again last week in a World News Tonight advocacy-news piece by Bill Redeker on the expiration of the ban. The segment quoted Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton, who warned “we’ll probably have more of these weapons in the United States than there are in Iraq in the hands of insurgents.” Not true. Iraqi insurgents shoot fully automatic military rifles — the real thing. American target shooters and collectors whose guns were banned by the 1994 law only want to shoot their semiautomatic rifles, one bullet with each trigger pull.
Redeker further tried to mislead viewers into thinking machine guns are legal again by showing video footage of a 1997 North Hollywood shootout. In one of the relatively few modern crimes involving machine guns, two bank robbers fired on police with fully automatic rifles, not with the guns now legal again.
Intentionally misrepresenting assault weapons as machine guns is nothing new for the gun-control lobby. But if the public mood about the issue is any indication, the lie is exposed. Congressional leaders held fast to the end, citing their constituents’ desires in letting the law die its programmed death.”
The primary fact is that a true ‘assault weapon’ is a military firearm which can be fired either ‘automatically’ (many shots per trigger pull) or ‘semi-automatically’ (one shot per trigger pull). In other words, a true assault weapon is a machine gun which is already regulated by federal law.
The firearms that are covered by the so-called ‘assault weapons’ laws are semi-automatic handguns, rifles and shotguns. Some of these firearms are made to look like a military-style weapon but are mechanically indistinguishable from the traditional-looking deer rifle.
As stated by Officer William McGrath in the Police Marksman:
These [assault rifles] are little different than the semi-automatic hunt-ing rifles that have been on the market since before World War II. The main difference between an assault rifle and a semi-automatic hunting rifle is that the assault rifle looks more ‘military’. . . .
(The term ‘assault’ rifle is really a misnomer as a true assault rifle is a selective fire weapon capable of switching from fully automatic to semi automatic and back with the flip of a lever. There is already a ban on the impor- tation and manufacture for domestic sale of such weapons.) The charge that the assault rifle holds more rounds than a ‘legitimate’ hunting rifle shows either a lack of knowledge or a deliberate twisting of the facts, as 10, 20 and 30 round magazines for ‘legitimate’ hunting rifles have been on the market for decades without the world coming to an end. (1)”