[Lead photo: Oleg Volk]
Original reports coming out of the shooting of GOP congress members at a Virginia baseball field reported that the attacker used a firearm “similar to an M4” in the attack. Reports are now emerging (confirmed by multiple sources) that the firearm in use was actually an SKS and a 9mm handgun.
The SKS is a semi-automatic rifle which pre-dates the AK-47 by about four years as a potential battle rifle for the Soviet Red Army. Designed as a top loading stripper clip fed gas operated rifle, the gun has since often been modified to use detachable magazines as well. SKS firearms imported into the United States are predominantly Yugoslavian manufactured, and while Russian and Chinese models are available they remain relatively rare and some are sought after by collectors.
That makes CNN’s statement about the SKS (“a Chinese-made variant of the popular AK rifle”) almost entirely incorrect. And as for the other news outlets like CBS which “confirmed” the weapon was an AR-15 that’s just fake news.
While some variants of the SKS have detachable magazines, the majority of SKS models have fixed magazines and hold only ten rounds at a time. The fixed magazine and low capacity means that this rifle would not be classified as an “assault rifle” under any of the current or proposed “assault weapons ban” legislation.
The other firearm involved in the attack has been described as a 9mm handgun, but the make and model have not been specified. The handgun, while present, does not appear to have been used in the attack — only the SKS was fired during the event.