Despite years of intensive effort on the part of firearms experts to train mainstream media on even the most basic firearms terminology, they still screw it up. Constantly. Just this morning, for example, The Chicago Tribune ran headlines which read:
“Assault rifles?” Seriously? I wasn’t aware there was any “debate over assault rifles.” In fact, there’s no such debate because only two assault rifles have ever been used in a mass shooting in the U.S., both of which occurred last century.
An assault rifle is a selective-fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Selective fire means the capability of a weapon to be adjusted to fire in semi-automatic, burst mode, and/or fully automatic firing mode. “Under the NFA, it is illegal for any private civilian to own any fully automatic weapons manufactured after May 19, 1986” (Source). This includes assault rifles, machine guns, and sub-machine guns.
Neither the AR-15 nor any of its many variants, is an “assault rifle.”
I think what the idiots at the Chicago Tribune were trying to say is, “assault weapon.” The problem with that term, however, is that it’s not even real. It’s a made-up term, lacking any concrete definition that isn’t already covered by widely-used industry-standard definitions. In fact, the individual who made it up was trying to get around the fact that he could not knowing call the Colt AR-15 an “assault rifle” because the Colt AR-15 is not an assault rifle at all. It’s a semi-automatic rifle, period.
Semi-automatic rifles are not “assault rifles.” They’re certainly not “assault weapons,” as that term holds no standing whatsoever in the industry.
There is NO DIFFERENCE between a scary-looking semi-automatic rifle and friendly-looking semi-automatic rifle. Both are just semi-automatic rifles. The idea of banning so-called “assault weapons” is ludicrous as NO SUCH FIREARM EXISTS.