The Long, Sordid History of “Assault Weapons”

Sen. Feinstein using Nick’s photo to make her case for more gun control.

After a psycho — there’s really no more accurate way to describe him — shot 40 people, killing 21 of them in San Ysidro, California McDonald’s in 1984, Assemblyman Art Agnos had this to say:

“The only use for assault weapons is to shoot people,” Agnos told the Assembly Public Safety Committee in June 1985. San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara concurred. “These are weapons of war,” he said. “They are made to kill people, and they are all over California. There is no legitimate use for these. Nobody hunts deer with them.”

And the civilian disarmament industrial complex has been using some variant of the same argument ever since, to various degrees of effectiveness. It didn’t matter that the shooter that day in 1984 used a 9mm handgun, a shotgun and an Uzi 9mm carbine. As far as anyone who wanted fewer firearms in the hands of Americans was concerned, these were “assault weapons.”

Reason’s Jacob Sullum does a nice job of using history and facts in the service of explaining the “assault weapons” phenomenon and the efforts to regulate them, for whatever good it does.

Although “assault weapons” fire no faster than any other semi-automatic, such as a Glock 19 pistol or a Ruger 10/22 hunting rifle, politicians routinely conflate them with machine guns, which have not been legally produced for civilians in the United States since 1986. Prohibitionists like Feinstein argue that “assault weapons” are good for nothing but mass shootings and gang warfare, despite the fact that only a tiny percentage of these guns are ever used to commit crimes. They say these firearms are “weapons of choice” for mass shooters, who are in fact much more likely to use handguns, and claim they are uniquely deadly, even though the category is defined based on features that make little or no difference in the hands of a murderer.

All true. So? It’s not like the gun-grabbing industry is deterred by little inconveniences like facts. They have emotion on their side.

Josh Sugarmann, founder and executive director of the Violence Policy Center, laid out this strategy of misdirection and obfuscation in a 1988 report on “Assault Weapons and Accessories in America.” Sugarmann observed that “the weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.”

We can argue the details ’til we’re blue in the face. Hell, we have. Unfortunately, that ship has long since sailed. As a result, we now have a smattering of state-level “assault weapons” bans. The dearly departed Clinton federal ban expired way back in 2004. You know, the one that had precisely zero effect on “gun violence.”

There is little evidence that the “assault weapon” ban had an impact on gun deaths. “We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence,” University of Pennsylvania criminologist Christopher Koper and two co-authors wrote in a 2004 report commissioned by the National Institute of Justice. “There has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence, based on indicators like the percentage of gun crimes resulting in death or the share of gunfire incidents resulting in injury.” They concluded that “should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

You don’t need Ivy League researchers to tell you why. Rifles — particularly those even loosely defined as “assault weapons” — are virtually never used in the commission of crimes. And even though they’ve been used in some high-profile mass shootings like Aurora, Sandy Hook and Parkland, even that’s unusual.

Contrary to the impression left by press coverage highlighting scary-looking rifles, handguns are also the most common choice for mass shooters. A Mother Jones review of mass shootings from 1982 through 2012 found that 66 percent of the weapons were handguns, while just 14 percent would qualify as “assault weapons” under the definition used in Feinstein’s 2013 bill.

The Diane Feinsteins of the world are nothing if not determined. The obvious answer to that problem: broaden the definition. And Feinstein did exactly that in the latest iteration of her gun-grabbing, windmill-tilting effort she introduced last fall.

Feinstein no longer thinks we need to worry about bayonet mounts, but she is now sounding the alarm about the ominous barrel shroud, a covering that protects the shooter’s hand from the heat generated by firing a rifle. She also has added rocket launchers to the equally fanciful grenade launchers as prohibited accessories. Crimes committed with rifle-mounted grenade or rocket launchers are about as common in the United States as crimes committed with rifle-mounted bayonets.

We lost the language battle almost 35 years ago. The question now is, will we lose a lot more than that. Given the broad interpretation of the Heller decision, its “common use” language and the Court’s reluctance to hear any appeal of bans upheld by lower courts, Heller has come to mean very little.

That highly deferential approach (by the Supreme Court) should alarm anyone who values the constitutional right to armed self-defense. “If a broad ban on firearms can be upheld based on conjecture that the public might feel safer (while being no safer at all),” Thomas wrote, “then the Second Amendment guarantees nothing.”

comments

  1. avatar Nanashi says:

    Clearly we need NFA repeal introduced. The stateist main tactic has been to make people thing normal firearms are full-auto. How are they going to oppose actual full autos without admiting the difference?

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      Who are your senators/rep. You have discussed (face to face) this with which?

      Who has the text of repeal legislation?

    2. avatar MarkPA says:

      The question we need to face-up to is: Which gun law impedes the growth of 2A support most?

      Let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that some aspect of the NFA’34 is the least rational and most antithetical to the 2A among all laws. Merely for illustration, suppose it’s the AOW provision. What would we accomplish by repealing that provision? Next to nothing? Why dilute our efforts on the AOW law when there is (I presuppose) some other law which – if overturned – would accomplish so much more?

      My candidate is “Won’t-Issue” carry permits. (You might have your own favorite.) Won’t-Issue prevents the introduction of the first step in popularization of ordinary-citizen public carry. Without that first step, no second step follows; so no third step follows. High-population States remain islands of 2A opposition indefinitely. I know we all want the Fairy-Law-Mother to come down from the heavens and create a gun-rights Utopia in one-fell-swoop; it won’t happen. What WILL happen is chipping away one obstacle at a time.

      The idea that a government official can grant a license – for ANYTHING – to a few billionaires, celebrities, Democrat Party donors and government employees is antithetical to our national sentiments. As such, it sticks in the craw of the typical voter; but only if we insist upon making an issue of the point. Some animals are more equal than others?

      A judge or legislature could be persuaded to overturn such a scheme; if for taxi medallions then for anything else, including guns. Overturning this thoroughly-UN-American idea doesn’t threaten the sensitivities of the average voter. It simply says: ‘The qualification of a person to carry a gun in public ought to be NON-political. E.g., can you pass a live-fire qualification no more onerous than that applied to police? Not, did you donate enough to the Democrat Party?’

      If we can’t get Won’t-Issue struck down what makes us believe we could get the NFA ruled un-Constitutional?

      1. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

        How are permits issued in Chicago and D.C., but NJ and Hawaii, for example, still get away with de facto no issue?

  2. avatar Paul Mcmichael says:

    We have ourselves to blame for the term “assault rifle.” As I young teen in the ’70s (if I remember correctly) I first read the term in Mel Tappan’s article “Survive!” in Guns & Ammo and his book Survival Guns. It was a term in common usage at the time among me and my fellow firearms enthusiasts up to, and during, the ’80s and ’90s. Even though it was inaccurate.

    1. avatar MarkPA says:

      I agree that we brought this language-war on ourselves. Now, what to do about it?

      The Antis are always trying to divide-and-conquer. The first measure was to prohibit shipping handguns through the US Mail; and, then Handgun Control. Then “Assault Weapons”. Back to handguns. If only they could get the Fudds to turn on handguns or scary-looking Assault Weapons they can break our solidarity. And, we are only all-too-eager to play their game in the hopes that the Antis will ban-our-gun last.

      Why should we be so foolish? Why do we INSIST on being so foolish? Are we too dim-witted to figure out the counter-measure?

      It’s obvious on-it’s-face that firearms are dangerous. Every firearm is dangerous. If a particular firearm were not dangerous to life-and-limb, it wouldn’t be of any particular use as an “arm” as contemplated by the 2A. Consider the artifact: a nail-gun powered by a .22 rimfire cartridge. It is a “fire”-gun; but is it an “arm”? No. It may be protected by some unenumerated right under the Constitution, but not the 2A. If any claim is to be asserted under the 2A, the artifact must be dangerous to the forces of tyranny (or, at a minimum, dangerous to a violent criminal). So, in this respect, ALL guns are dangerous in order to qualify for protection under the 2A.

      Circle the wagons.

      Do you have a proposal for a law that regulates one gun differently from another? Very well; give us the text of your proposed law. Does it “infringe” upon the right to keep-and-bear-arms? If it does, then it’s un-Constitutional.

      If it does NOT so-“infringe” then we will entertain your proposal on it’s merits, whatever they might appear to be. E.g., you want to tax all guns 10% for wildlife conservation; fine, we want to conserve wildlife too and we’ll be the first in line to put our money where our mouth is. You want to tax machine-gun transfers $200? That’s abut 10%, so, we could live with that too. Destructive-devices taxed at $200 each? Hmmmm; that’s too much, and it doesn’t make sense. How about $200 for each item in possession at any one time. You want a howitzer and 10 explosive rounds; that’s 11 * $200 = $2,200. Shoot one round and you can buy another without paying another $200.

      There is a smarter way to deal with the machine-gun issue; for illustration. We can hold that it is obvious that the machine-gun is an action-type that is incontestably a “part of the ordinary military equipment”. Even so, in contemporary military doctrine its use is narrow. The militia needs some machine-guns to exercise in that narrow use. We have some (about 175,000) but eventually, these will become obsolete; and, there is no sure way of knowing the minimum number necessary to maintain proficiency. So, repealing the Hughes Amendment is essential to restoring a proper adherence to the 2A.

      We don’t like the $200 tax and registration requirement; however, it remains possible to maintain proficiency in machine-gun use under these regulations. In the event of a threat to the “security of a free state” we feel confident that our nation’s machine-shops could rapidly manufacture sufficient DIASs in a weekend to respond to the emergency.

      A acknowledge that there are purists who are far more interested in intellectual-consistency than they are in achieving effective progress. To them, I urge, directing all their effort toward repealing the 10% excise tax on guns and 11% tax on ammo that is earmarked for conservation efforts. That tax – which serves to attract begrudging support from environmentalists – is equally objectionable as the $5 tax on AOWs. And, it is by far the greatest burden on gun-ownership and use in terms of its dollar-impact.

  3. avatar anarchyst says:

    The problem is, we have allowed the anti Second Amendment crowd to define the terms.
    A firearm is a tool which possesses no evil intent on its own. Assigning intent to an inanimate object is the epitome of insanity. Demonizing a weapon on “looks alone” also marks the accuser as an unstable individual who is also insane. Call them out on their illogic and insanity.
    Another dirty tactic the anti-Second Amendment crowd uses exposes children to potential and actual harm by putting them in “gun-free zones”. These people care not one wit about children, but uses them for their own nefarious purposes.
    We need to TAKE BACK the argument…
    When the antis blame the firearm for the actions of a criminal, state that: “a firearm is an inanimate object, subject only to the intent of the user”. Firearms ARE “equalizers” and are used to preserve life and make a 90 lb. woman equal to a 200 lb. criminal”.
    When the antis attempt to justify their “gun free zones” counter their misguided argument with “you mean, criminal safety zones” or “victim disarmament zones”.
    State that “we protect our money, banks, politicians and celebrities, buildings and facilities with PEOPLE WITH GUNS, but protect our children with “gun-free zone” signs”.
    When the antis state that: “you don’t need and AR-15”, counter with, “Who are YOU to consider what I need or want?”
    When the antis criticize AR-15s in general, counter with: “you mean the most popular rifle of the day, use able by even the smallest, weakest person as a means of self-defense. Besides, AR-15s are FUN to shoot”. Offer to take them to the range and supply them with an AR-15, ammunition and range time. I have made
    many converts this way.
    When the antis state that: “You don’t need an AR-15 to hunt with”, counter with “AR-15s ARE used for hunting, but in many states, are prohibited from being used to take large game because they are underpowered”.
    When the antis state that: “AR-15s are high powered rifles”, correct them by stating that “AR-15s with the .223 or 5.56mm cartridge are considered medium-powered weapons–NOT “high-powered” by any means”.
    When the antis state that: “the Constitution was written during the time of muskets, and that the Second Amendment should only apply to “weapons of that time period”, state that: “by your logic, the First Amendment should not apply to modern-day telecommunications, internet, television, radio, public-address systems, books and newspapers produced on high-speed offset printing presses. Only “town-criers” and Benjamin Franklin type printing presses would be covered under the First Amendment”.
    When the antis state that “only law enforcement and government should possess firearms”, remind them of the latest school shooting, as well as Columbine, where “law enforcement” SAT ON THEIR HANDS while children were being murdered, citing “officer safety”, afraid to challenge the shooter, despite being armed to the hilt. The government-run murderous sieges at Ruby Ridge and Waco are also good examples of government (mis)use of firearms. Let’s not forget the millions murdered under communism by their governments AFTER their firearms were confiscated.
    This tome can be used to counter any argument against any infringement of our Second Amendment.

    1. avatar CZ Rider says:

      This tome has been reposted under the comments section of probably 75% of the articles on this site for a full month now, at least. This tome is not wrong, but this tome is also not helpful.

      1- It’s a damn tome.

      2 – It uses words like “tome” and “nefarious” and “[whit]”.

      You can preach to us all day about how we neeeeed to be out there giving the same long-winded logical dissertations to people day in and day out, and you’ll be missing the point as much as ever. Your target audience is, generally speaking, a dumb panicky herd animal with no spare time or energy in their day to be uplifted into logical discourse about some thing they don’t care about except it was on the news last night and it was scary. Please take the time you spend nailing your ninety-five gun theses on every door around here and use it to develop something effective for people who actually need to be affected.

      1. avatar MarkPA says:

        Your critique is valid and not-valid at the same time.

        It’s valid in the sense that if ears are deaf no words will register. Yet, the Antis would not use words if their audience were deaf. And so, we need to cultivate our responses rather than remain silent.

        What responses need to be cultivated I do not presume to know. There are experts in communication who figure these things out; and, the PotG need to engage these experts just as Bloomberg does to hone his one message. If our enemies are using a tactic there is no reason to eschew looking at that same tactic and trying to figure out how to counter it.

        I’m not sure what highly effective tactics we ought to pursue. You didn’t propose an alternative either. We need to invest in the search for highly effective tactics. I recommend a pair of books titled “Good Gun, Bad Guy” and “Good Gun, Bad Guy 2”. He digs into the psyche of Antis which is, I believe, the place to begin.

        At its core, I think our problem is that guns have become de-normalized in our culture. In comparison, in my parents culture (beginning of the 20’th century) guns were normal. They weren’t a fetish; they weren’t an essential part of life (as were cars and farm machinery). The important thing is that they were simply THERE – a normal part of life. Everyone understood that they would blow a hole in anything they were fired at; but this was as normal as the fact that a car or farm machinery would crush anything they rolled-over.

        As the nation urbanized, guns have fallen out of normalcy; and so, they have become ripe for demonizing. Lions and tigers are normal in Africa; introduce one to the “wilds” of suburbia and they wouldn’t be regarded as worm cuddly felines.

        What is “normal” for a good majority of Americans is that guns are for government employees in blue uniforms. If the guy with the gun isn’t waring a blue uniform then he must be a “bad guy”. Somehow, we must turn this around. But, we won’t do anything to really turn-this-around. We are all a bit Fudd-like in this respect. As long as we have our guns to engage in our favored recreation, we aren’t interested in exploring something radical.

        What if we were bold enough to grab the Anti’s by the testicles and propose something perfectly Constitutional and sensible? Congress has the Power – I’d argue the duty – to “prescribe the discipline for the militia” and the States have the duty to “train according to the discipline prescribed by Congress”. If the Anti’s want “gun safety” then let’s grab these testicles and go the full monty. Congress should prescribe the discipline and compel the States to train our youth in public schools. Gun safety first; then marksmanship. Such a program would be squarely inside the metes and bounds of the Constitution; perhaps the ONLY form of education within the power of Congress.

        What would the Anti’s say? Why, they would say exactly what anyone would say when grabbed by the testicles. And we would calmly respond that gun-safety either IS a “thing” about which the public and its treasury ought to be concerned; or, it is NOT such a matter of concern. If the Antis are all so concerned, then we are willing to accept their argument and respond with the most obvious proposal. What is their objection? We’d love to know that! Let them explain why they want sex-education, but not gun-safety-education.

        Would the public debate over Congressionally-mandated training of the militia in gun-safety and marksmanship be far more fruitful than discussing the danger of “shoulder things that go up”?

  4. avatar anarchyst says:

    Quite often, firearms owners are their own worst enemies. The duck hunters don’t like the AR-15 “black rifles” so they see no problem if attempts are made to ban them. The traditional rifle owners don’t like machine guns, so they have no problem with them being legislated out of existence. Some pistol owners see nothing wrong with certain long guns or even “bump stocks” being outlawed just as some rifle owners would have no problem seeing pistols banned.
    Friends, ALL firearms advocates must “hang together” and realize that an assault on ANY means of firearms ownership and self-defense is an assault on ALL forms of firearms ownership and self-defense.
    There is absolutely NO ROOM for complacency among ANY Second Amendment supporters. An attack on one is an attack on ALL…
    ALL firearms laws are unconstitutional on their face. Imagine the hue and cry if “reasonable” restrictions were placed on First Amendment activities, especially with the “mainstream media”. The Second Amendment is clear–what part of “shall not be infringed” do politicians and the media not understand…of course, they understand full well…it’s part of their communist agenda…

    1. avatar Unrepentant Libertarian says:

      You are right about the anti-gun mafia having an argument to ban all types of guns. Any firearm with a magazine is an assault weapon, any bolt action is a sniper rifle, every shotgun shoots multiple projectiles with each pull of the trigger. They all have to be banned because they are so deadly.
      The anti-gun mob is psychologically terrified of all firearms. They should really seek treatment for their psychosis. As many others have stated on this forum, a gun is an inanimate object that has to be animated by someone to discharge. It is a tool just like a chainsaw.

    2. avatar MarkPA says:

      “ALL firearms laws are unconstitutional on their face.” The is an obvious weakness in such an argument.

      Consider a purely hypothetical question. Suppose there were a “firearm law” that was Constitutional. This is purely a hypothetical question, so you can’t dismiss it. What if there were? Well, then, the quoted argument fails on the recognition of this hypothetical possible law.

      Returning to the realm of the practical. What if in the mind of each voter (apart from our noble selves, of course) there existed the possibility of a “firearm law” that was Constitutional. What if a majority of voters could actually think of one or another such law that s/he felt would be Constitutional. Mind you, we who are noble and KNOW the ABSOLUTE truth, are aware of the error of their thinking. Nevertheless, they vote according to their sentiments.

      So, what does it achieve for us to argue to our fellow voter that “ALL firearm laws are unconstitutional” if s/he (however mistakenly) considers the proposition a non-starter.

      Shall we repeat it often enough to beat the drum louder than Bloomberg repeats his drum?
      Shall we raise our voice to a higher volume than Bloomberg’s screeching Moms?

      1. avatar Joe R. says:

        ““ALL firearms laws are unconstitutional on their face.” ”

        What, like there’s no murderers walking around un-charged yet. Aren’t there POS Senators and Congressmen out on parole awaiting hearings?

        How do you know that someone hasn’t started amassing troops and might against it? How do you know movement is not afoot. You are merely caught unawares. You were caught on the wrong side.

        “Let us not yet depart too far from the notion of implied individual obligation, with regard to the eradication of perceived threat. As a slightly tangential notion (to threat, but not to a society’s reaction to it), in translation to governance, and to the idea of the person in the circle (Figure 8 above); often, in the actions of the governors of the U.S. republic, it is remarked that silence [among the governed] equals consent to the actions of the governor.
        This is not so however. Silence can as easily, and perhaps even more readily, indicate equal incredulity. And in their silence, in an effort to shade mounting answer to the perceived threat; individuals are drawing swords.
        Silence, you will remember, is what you receive a little of, from the firing squad, before you receive an eternity of it. ” [J.M. Thomas, R., TERMS, 2012, Pg. 45]

  5. avatar GS650G says:

    I think I’ll buy another scary gun just to kids them off

  6. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    I’ve never seen any firearm assault,as in assault weapon,any one being a inanimate object.

  7. avatar wrench says:

    London,England I think is going after assault knifes and spork’s.

    1. avatar Jon in CO says:

      Between Feb ‘16 and Feb ‘18, there was an average of 14 assaults with knives every day in London. That’s absolutely crazy.

      1. avatar Francis says:

        Yeah, and most of those were knife on knife assaults.

        Not to mention the really scary knives with the sharp pointy thingy on the end, or the black matte diamond like coating. The common sense thing to do would be to ban the black micarta grips and the full tang-o-matics with telescoping pommels like you find on survival knives. You don’t need a knife with a built in fire starter to butter your toast anyway.
        .

  8. avatar ironicatbest says:

    Last post before I go shooting my beloved 1911….. At least she’s not holding up an Evil Black As Salt Rifle. Those things breed like rats

  9. avatar Anonymoose says:

    There should be a hammered single-barrel shotgun labelled “AR15” on that chart.

  10. avatar former water walker says:

    He!! Now we got “full semiautomatic” BS…all we can do is fight,bug pols-and VOTE.

  11. avatar UpChuckLiberals says:

    Does anyone know where I can get a fully automatic Clip-A-Zine for my AR-47?

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Well, from the NRA of course.
      But, you’ll have to wade through the blood of the children they have murdered.
      Then fight your way through the crazies the NRA is selling “assault weapons” to.
      /sarc off/

  12. avatar SurfGW says:

    The San Ysidro shooting and Harvey Milk’s murder, the 1989 Stockton schoolyard massacre, the 1994 Proposition 187, the implementation of the Prop 209 that made minorities feel like they have to justify their college admission… all of these things pushed California from a state that voted overwhelmingly for Reagan in 80 and 84 to a state where a Republican Presidential candidate is lucky to get 8 or 10 out of 57 Counties.
    The reason Dems can effectively implement these bans is because they can play the PR angle well. Pro-gunners need to sound more caring and spend more money on PR to spin the angle on everything. Accuse and let the other guy explain why they voted like they did.

    1. avatar MarkPA says:

      “Pro-gunners need to sound more caring and spend more money on PR to spin the angle on everything. ” Absolutely!

      1. avatar Joe R. says:

        Pro-gunners need to sound more intolerant, and dangerous. Exude a little more “don’t fuck with me, stupid”.

        Leave a few in their wake, over trivial gun-sleights.

        It’s all coming down to serious violence sooner or later, human history has already recorded, and dictates. The fuckers that need to be ‘stopped’ won’t stop until they’re made to go away.

  13. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    Well, the features that Difi & co want to prohibit for citizens, wrongly calling some collection of these “lan “assault wrapon”, make guns more effective for self-defense. Easier to handle, more precise to point, etc.

    It’s like less effective is what they really want.

    And, yes, these features make a definsive firearm more *selectively lethal.* That’s the point. As in more lethal when you need it to be, and more selective, about applying that lethality. Tbe problem is, she and her iok think you are too dumb, biased n reactive to make that call. You are the baby to keep away from matches.

    They don’t believe that anyone can be like Dalton. Be nice. Until it is time to not be nice. They don’t think you can tell which is which. You are too stupid to know who’s a home invader trying to kill you, and who isn’t. And if some of you get killed by home invaders you could have stopped, well losing dummies like you is no loss. Apparently, we cwn lose up to 2.5 million of you a year, n it’s no bother.

    The problem is, this is the last thing she and her ilk want – people able to enact their own choices. “Please Mr. home invader, don’t kill me.” Leaves home invader-guy with the choice. Even the famous pee yourself maneuver only changes the terrain in which rapist-guy decides to rape or not anyway. In DiFi world, your job is to quietly let yourself be eaten, rather than stop that goblin yourself.

    The fake “assault weapons” the marching hordes want to ban (One-arm raised salutes over a screaming crowd … not a good look, people.) are the generally best choice for self defense. Actual “assault weapons” are already effectively banned. And less useful for self-defense: even with several home invaders, suppressive fire usually isn’t all that good a choice.

    They aren’t trying to ban these effective atms because they don’t know these things, but because they do.

  14. avatar Craig in IA says:

    Actually, as average, normal, everyday gun owners we may be doing a lot better on defusing the “assault rifle” moniker than we know. The key here is now the overwhelming number of people who own them, even in the so-called FUDD community. It’s pretty common in the past couple of years to be able to buy an entry level AR in the $500 range, about 1/3 of that Benelli SBE or Win Super X3 all the “hunters” seem to need, and I see them coming past my table at the door of gun shows in droves. Literally. Add now the tinkerers who are building 80% lowers. I’m almost embarrassed at how many AR platform rifles I own and I still pretty much concern them as toys compared to a lot of my other firearms.

    Back in 1993 they were something of a curiosity for many, today, besides exercising our 2nd Amendment right by owning one, people are using them in huge numbers to hunt deer, shoot coyotes, prairie dogs and other varmints, and they are the most popular rifle on the line at CMP and other service rifle matches from local to Camp Perry. There is no way of creating a real ban or “buy back” today in most states but it makes a great fundraiser for both sides.

    If you’re old enough to remember the racially-inspired “Saturday Night Specials” that predated the assault rifles, we hear almost nothing concerning them today. Shall-issue concealed carry washed that one out as concealable handguns became a popular necessity. So, as gunners, let’s just start using and insisting “Modern Sporting Rifle” anytime some rabid leftist uses the AR term and go about our business. I’m not too keen about using the “sporting” tie but whatever keeps Americans buying them, use it.

    Numbers, folks.

  15. avatar Joe R. says:

    ““The only use for assault weapons is to shoot people,” ”

    YOU ARE FUCKING-A RIGHT MFr.

    THEY ARE TO KILL EVERY TYRANNICAL SWINGING (D)ICK OF OUR POS GOVERNMENT THAT DOESN’T PACK THEIR SHIT AND GO HOME QUIETLY WHEN WE LET THEM KNOW WE’VE (or I’ve) CHOOSEN TO REPLACE THEM.

    AND THAT’S WHY THEIR OWNERSHIP AND USE, BY BONA FINDE CITIZENS, IS A PROTECTED RIGHT.

    “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

    When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. . . ”

    YOU’VE ALREADY GOTTEN ALL OF THE NOTICE YOU’RE GOING TO GET.

    1. avatar MarkPA says:

      I love this argument!

      It is, I think, really hard to argue with the texts of the Declaration and Constitution. We, the American People, ARE what the founding generation declared us to be in these two documents. If these documents were NOT the core of what we are as a People, then to what would we point? We have no gracious monarch to point to.

      There is, somewhere deeply embedded in all of us, the notion that sovereignty is vested in the body of the People. And so, I think it’s feasible to covey to our fellow Americans the idea that the means to assert that sovereignty is essential to its preservation. Whichever of our fellow Americans who choose NOT to assert that sovereignty, they should rest assured that someone ELSE WILL do so. Beware; or, be a part of the solution.

  16. avatar MyName says:

    “We lost the language battle almost 35 years ago.”

    While I understand what the author is trying to communicate with this statement, I’m not sure I’m willing to accept that we’ve lost the language battle. My approach to discussing assault weapons with antis (those that will actually discuss anything) has been to ask them to define the term for me so we know what we are talking about. Often, they start to throw out things like “military style, high capacity, very powerful” etc. etc. This opens the door to talking about actual firearm features and presents an opportunity to educate.

    Naturally, attempts at education are often fruitless but, forcing antis to at least consider the need for precision in their definitions can force them to either do some research and realize that ‘assault weapons’ are at best vaguely defined and that pressing policy based on vagueness is an uphill battle or to admit that to achieve their goals they must call for a ban on, at a minimum, all semi-auto firearms. If they go the research route, they may find out that their call to ban ‘assault weapons’ is foolish, if they go the ‘ban-em-all’ route then they discover that they run into a lot more opposition.

    1. avatar MarkPA says:

      I agree with your approach. Absolutely.

      It’s a perfectly reasonable question to ask someone ‘What do you mean by X?’

      Their response will reveal whether they are interested in a dialogue or committed to a diatribe. Their choice.

      If they want a diatribe that’s fine; they simply have to accept that they will look foolish to any audience present. If they are willing to make themselves look foolish to an audience, that might be the best we might hope for.

  17. avatar Vitsaus says:

    Wait, so that McDonald’s shooter was the inventor of 3 gun?

  18. avatar MLee says:

    Remember, the best defense is a strong offense. Our culture has been pushed back on our heels and vilified. As many have pointed out, push back, come out swinging (not literally) know your statistics and put the grabbers in their place. They are all full of sh– and we all know it! Don’t be afraid to point out why.

  19. avatar mark s says:

    It is really up to the logical , common sense , everyday person , whether a gun owner or supporter of gun ownership or one opposed to it , to stand up for reality and the truth of any reality as it should stand on it’s own . In other words , everyone ……………..Liberal / conservative / Libertarian / Progressive / Socialist / Communist or what ever a persons leanings and convictions , should defend truth and the words that define truth , regardless of their political , social or economic positions , and facts need defended and not grayed or obscured for any argument . If the perversion of truth is allowed in any argument , for any reason , then it can be permitted in any future arguments on any subject or cause .
    The truth here is simple . The 2nd amendment was penned by folks who lived under TYRANNY , they understood it , and laid out their lives , fortunes and sacred honors to vanquish it and to guard against it’s return they gave the citizens of the new nation a mandate to stand vigilant and a means by which to do so .
    It is absolute common sense to know that no early American patriot would have refused to shoulder an AR style firearm over their Brown Bess , had they have been offered a choice .
    We need to call out the 2nd amendment adversaries and challenge them to make their arguments for banning any weapon , based on truths and to procure their victory via the avenue laid out in the constitution as in a convention .
    When we or they allow constitutional freedoms to be chiseled away , small piece at a time , all our freedoms lie in the same path of the chisel .
    It is our duty to understand and articulate correctly , the truth of our founding , the reasons for our founders positions , the histories that formulated those positions and the necessity to stand our ground , to our youth .
    We should make it clear to our children and grand children the nature of man and his propensity to do evil and his nature to conquer , control and regulate free will .
    When we as a people allow the greying of truth or allow others to lend truth to the abstract , we have lost the war of ‘ free will ‘ and those who wish to dictate and control can efficiently fill the voids left in truths demise .
    This truly is a failure of logic and educating generations in the processes of logic , allowing the grey to creep into all facets of our foundations . The black and whites have all been mixed to a point where logic itself is now an abstract . The boys are now girls and reverse , nurturing is now a sacrament of the state , words are now weapons to be enforce-ably controlled , modern healthcare , with all it’s technologies , pills and procedures is considered a right of existence , higher education is considered the definition of success , actors and actresses ( agents of hypocrisy ) are who Americans listen to for advise and our youth are under the assumption that Socialism and even Communism are favorable to freedom and free commerce .
    History has been rewritten or obscured by progressive transformers and our children have been taught to believe they are wiser than there for-bearers .
    If these trends are not reversed , all our freedoms , that preceding American generations have left life and limb to protect , are in grave danger . The 2nd amendment will be tossed into the heap along with everything we know to be TRUTH .

  20. avatar Guest says:

    “An assault weapon’s only purpose is for shooting at people.”

    The same exact thing could be said for a tiny, 5 shot J-frame revolver or an equally tiny, 6 shot .380. Hell, those guns fit that description BETTER because an AR is at least decent for taking out groundhogs and fun to target shoot with. Yet you don’t usually see these people clamoring for a pocket pistol ban (yet).

  21. avatar little horn says:

    i don’t think we have LOST the language war. i see the contrary. how many videos have we seen lately pointing out this very discrepancy in the language? quite a bit. we just have to keep at it and keep educating people that they are being misrepresented and lied to.

  22. avatar Scoutino says:

    “The only use for assault weapons is to shoot people”
    Well, not ONLY for that, but even if they were, so what?
    5.56 semi auto rifles are not used to hunt deer much because they are considered to be underpowered for large game in most states. But that is not why the 2A forbids infringements of our right to keep and bear them. They are great for militia use. The “military features” are useful in protection of safe state from enemies foreign and especially domestic. As Joe R. said above.

    And that is the real reason why Progressives hate them so much. They need to get us good and defenseless before they can force their idea of utopia down our throats.

    So again, when gun grabbers say that AR 15 is good for killing people, I don’t disagree. That’s why we have the 2A.
    Hunting and fun on range is just a bonus.

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