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New York Legal AR-15 (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

“For the last damn time, ‘assault weapon’ is a purely invented term, designed by politicians to mislead the public into thinking consumers can buy machine guns at Wal-Mart. They can’t. In the political world at least, ‘assault weapon’ means nothing more than ‘semi-automatic rifle that has a few cosmetic features that we do not like.'” – Charles C. W. Cooke, ABC: But ‘Assault Weapons’ Bans Just Make Guns Look Different! [via]

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  1. Well when legislation is written by Feinsteins merely looking at pictures, thats all that will be different.

    • Don’t forget the “forward leaning pistol grip” I should see if I can get one of those, a shoulder thing that goes up and convert my AR to .9mm. Then I will be a true operator.

  2. Once again repeat after me: The Winchester Model 70 is a weapon of war. It is based on the the German Mauser Gewehr 98. The AR-15 are based on the technology of hunting rifles like the Remington Model 1908.

        • It just bugs me that antigun types so frequently fall back on the concept that the founding fathers only intended the second amendment to apply to the few distinct muzzleloaders available at the time, as if most of modern mechanical design and engineering didn’t come from people in that same time period trying to enable a single individual to put as many rounds downrange as accurately as possible in as short a time as possible. As if contemporaries of Benjamin Franklin thought they had reached the apex of industry.

    • the henry and winchester rifle were designed for war the mosin nagant the enfield, mausers ,1903s ,1917, garands were all designed to be used on a battlefield so they all must be evil assault rifles

      • I am not sure that Henry was actually originally developed for military use. It was just a technological advance which had both military and civilian applications. I would not consider the original Henry a dedicated weapon of war. Semiautomatic rifles were originally developed for civilian, not military use. It took almost 40 years after its introduction for the military organization to adopt the autoloading rifle as a standard infantry weapon while the bolt action rifle was specifically designed for military applications.

        • The original Henry repeater was designed for the Union Army, though the Secretary of War at the time considered muzzleloaders to be the pinnacle of military rifle design and refused to look at it. Forward-thinking Union commanders who were able to procured the rifle for their troops out of their own pockets, leading Confederate troops who encountered it in battle to refer to it as “That damned Yankee rifle you load on Sunday and shoot all week”.

        • The Henry was developed before the Civil War broke out. The company did take it it the Army after the war started. From everything I read about its developement it isn’t clear whether the military was only targeted customer.

        • The Henry was itself an improvement on the Volcanic Repeating arms design from the 1850s. The military was not a major weapons buyer until the Civil War.

      • All autoloading rifles trace their heritage back to the Browning A-5 shotgun, the Winchester Models 03 and 06 and the Remington Model 8 all dating from the period 1895-1908.

  3. Pretty good article. Brought to mind, about halfway through, the subject of automobiles, which kill far more than guns (especially “assault weapons”) every year. What we need to do, see, is mount the seats in the car facing backwards, so you have to drive using the mirrors. The car will be just as big, and go just as fast. This will make it far less comfortable to drive, thus we will have fewer highway deaths. This is the logic presented by the goofs, here, regarding common sporting rifles.

    • Ah, you forgot to require the gas tank to only hold a few gallons so that the driver has to stop and refuel more often. Also, mufflers should be outlawed because they make cars too quiet and you might not hear them coming. We should also do away with dimmer switches because no one needs to reduce the amount of visible light their vehicle is emitting. Then we should mandate that cars can only be so big because no one needs an SUV or a pickup.

    • No one NEEDS an engine over 50 HP, unless you are law enforcement. And spoilers and lowering kits because they have the same characteristics as race cars. After all, speed is the single greatest common contributor to auto mishaps.

      If grabber logic were applied to cars, only Priuses would be legal…maybe.

      • Nah, Prii would be completely accepted. If you really needed to go up that hill, you’d get out and walk. At least, they would be accepted until the first hundred buggy pileup kills six people and a few dozen horses. Then it would come to light that no one needs four cylinders.

  4. True statement, mostly. Back during the Clinton AWB I saw some interesting variations on MSRs and even equipped an SKS with a 20 round fixed magazine as a long term solution should standard capacity detachable magazines for it and my other rifles ever become unavailable. In the end there was never a shortage of either rifles or magazines but the price did get a little funky for ‘pre-ban’ rifles. In 1996 I paid about $1100 for a Colt AR-15 pre ban rifle that would have been sub-$700 only 2 years before. 30 round AK mags were selling for north of $30 in many places where they had been maybe $6-8 before the ban.

    Also during the AWB I bought a SPAS-12 and a Norinco MAK-90 (AK-47 variant) along with loads of standard capacity magazines for all sorts of rifles and handguns. Basically I bought three specifically banned weapons during the ban without violating any law. It was a stupid piece of legislation that accomplished nothing but an increase in price and desirability of the weapons involved.

    Back in those days my AR-15 was the only one any one I knew had despite my circle of friends being almost all gun guys. Now, with the Clinton AWB behind us and the attempts at a new one being tossed about in government every gun guy I know has at least 1 AR. I can remember traveling to a specific gun shop back then just because they were the only one in my area that displayed an AR. Now a gun shop without an AR is like a gas station without lottery tickets.

    I’m not sure what will happen with the state level AWBs but Frankenstiened rifles is obviously going to be a part of it.

    • So true. I bought my first AR the day the AWB was signed, it cost twice what it cost a week earlier. I am now awaiting my third, and I have a few spare uppers/barrels lying around, plus a few thousand rounds of ammo. All in all, perhaps the AWB was a fine idea!

  5. While I do not support legislation like this, I can understand the desire to ban bayonet mounts. I mean those are just really relevant to the urban gang violence epidemic.

    • I must admit that my current order for a new AR was held up due to my consideration of the possibility I might want to mount a bayonet, since the express purpose is hunting pigs. You can only mount a bayonet on a 20″ or 14.5″ barrel. I eventually gave up the idea, but may have my hunting host/partner mount my bayonet on his 20″ AR, just in case. His has jammed up before, he attributes it to russky ammo of the varnished steel case variety, his brother’s bolt 30-06 didn’t have the problem, dispatched the pig attacking him. Bayonets don’t jam. They are also not a complete joke, if you have an SBR or an original 20″. Wonder why they were banned for ALL barrel lengths?

      • There are plenty of 16″ AR uppers with bayonet lugs. PSA and DSA sell them, and I’m sure there are others.

      • Midlength 16 inch barrels are properly set up (with a traditional front sight post) for bayonets too.


  6. If I even see a picture of an evil automatic assault rifle with those high capacity clip thingies and things that go up on them it’s a traumatic experience. …

    Excuse me, I must go lock myself in a freezer and call a TV station and tweet about it until the police come now…

  7. “This is rarely spelled out, but one of the reasons that the AR-15 is so popular is that women, the disabled, and the young can use it so easily. ”

    As a woman (and a mom–step off, Shannon Watts), it’s particularly irritating to me that the adjustable stocks are always banned when the idiot gun grabbers make a law. That’s the part that makes it fit both me and my husband with his monkey arms. Banning those stocks is a #Waronwomen.

    • “Banning those stocks is a #Waronwomen.”

      Excellent point.

      Let’s go the next step. ALL gun control is a war on women.

      And the poor, generally.

      As is nearly all “Vee vill control you, simple subjects” style legislation.

      • It’s a war on women.

        It’s a war on minorities.

        It’s a war on the poor.

        It’s a war in the disabled.

        It’s a war on the elderly.

        It’s a war on the LGBTQ.

        It’s a war on parents.

        It’s a war on children.

        It’s a war on absolutely everybody.

        That’s all gun control is: a war on the law-abiding citizen.

        • It is more than that. What if we had no 2nd amendment? You and I wouldn’t be speaking right now.
          When a debate breaks out between a Statist and a Patriot, The Statist accuses the Patriot of advocating for unlimited weapons in the hands of the individual up to and including nuclear weapons. The Patriot accuses the Statist of wanting to remove all guns from private ownership. One argument is irrational and hyperbole. The other argument is the truth that lies beneath.

  8. I don’t think the point is that the anti-gunners want to ban “assault weapons”. They know darn well what they are doing. A slow squeeze over twenty to thirty years is the plan.

    I think the Ruger Mini 14 is still legal in NY State. It’s accuracy is not 1 moa but it’s good enought to kill, but it’s not an assault weapon.

    They’re not interested in being accurate, just interested in squeezing forever. NY States SAFE act will be amended in a year or so to squeeze a little more.

    • FYI, the new Mini 14s are much more accurate than the older models, and even older ones can be accurized to 1 moa or better.

  9. Gun control has always been about marketing to low information voters Government nor politicians measure any programs or gun control for its effectiveness because their measure is purely political. If it wins them votes, they are for it, if it does not win them votes, they are against it. The cosmetic feature talk is simply to scare people into their way of thinking because they have nothing else. Cosmetic features are just meant as a way demonize guns just like banning wings on cars in the 50’s was a way to demonize fast cars.

  10. Well, I’m sure you all know this….the “AR” in AR-15 stands for Armalite Rifle. Armalite as you know is the company that first manufactured the AR-15 but sold the rights to Colt. (there’s much more history here but I won’t go into it)

    There is such a term as “assault rife” and it refers to a rifle that is only used by the military. It is a rifle that is switchable to either 3 or 5 round bursts, semi auto or full auto. Assault rifles have been illegal for civilian ownership since 1934.

    One more thing that I don’t believe you know, according to The United States Constitution, the federal government has absolutely no authority whatsoever to create or enforce firearms laws. All, and I mean ALL federal firearms laws are unconstitutional and unenforceable. This would include, yes you guessed it, the 1,000 foot gun free school zone law. The BATFE (ATF for short) is an unlawful and unconstitutional federal department.

    Just an example of the lawlessness that has been taking place in our government and we the people have to take action to stop this lawless behavior. Please contact your elected officials and ask them to honor their oaths of office and to honor and defend the Constitution.

    Remember, the 2nd Amendment is the ONLY Amendment that states “shall not be infringed”.

    Always be armed…..because an armed society is a polite society.

    • Just so you know… no, you’re wrong.

      Lots of people own fully automatic weapons. Get the form, get the background check, get a lot of cash, wait a long time, and have fun once the ATF says ‘go.’

      Also, you just said ‘it’s been illegal to own an assault weapon since 1934,’ and followed with a paragraph about how firearms laws are illegitimate, unconstitutional and unenforceable. I promise they’ve been found constitutional by the Supreme Court, and I super-double-promise that the feds enforce the heck out of them.

      I like your sentiment, and I agree that firearms laws are mostly in contradiction with the 2A, but I wasn’t asked to write a brief for the Supreme Court, so my opinion really doesn’t matter much from a legal angle.

      • The NFA ’34 was never found to be “Constitutional” by the SCOTUS (surprise: it’s NOT). All the SCOTUS did was remand U.S. v. Miller (the sole challenge to that law in 80 years) back to the Appellate Court. That is what can promised.

        • That’s not true, either. In Miller, the SCOTUS reversed the district court’s decision, saying that the NFA didn’t violate the 2A. That means it’s constitutional.
          And to be fair, no one showed up to ACTUALLY challenge the 1934 on behalf of Miller. There hasn’t ever been a ‘challenge’ to the NFA before the SCOTUS- just a mock trial.

        • Guy says: “SCOTUS reversed the district court’s decision, saying that the NFA didn’t violate the 2A. That means it’s constitutional.”

          No, that means that nine senile old men in black robes SAID it’s constitutional. Problem is, even though they are wrong, there are too many gullible sheeple to actually fight it. Luckily, some states, Missouri seems to be leading the charge, are nullifying the federal antigun laws.

        • @ Rich Grise

          Unfortunately,it’s worse than that. The weren’t senile- they knew what they were doing and it was all to advance federal power.
          I admit I should rephrase- it’s Constitutional in practice, even when it’s unconstitutional. What they say goes; they always have the final word until they reverse a decision.

          I can’t wait to see more States get on the nullification bandwagon. It will be the only way to stop the feds without going a more ‘traditional’ route.

      • Okay Guy, you are right when you said that people can own fully automatic weapons and I apologize for not being clear on that. Yes you can own one, like you said after paying all kinds of money and getting a “special permit” and having to notify the ATF every time you want to take it somewhere to shoot. Yes people can own them. Not illegal but might as well be because they are so heavily regulated.

        As far as the Supreme Court is concerned, the members who sit on the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court itself are not above the law nor do they make law. They interpret the law according to the Constitution and the Supreme Court is also bound by and answer to the U.S. Constitution and when they agree with an unconstitutional law, they are wrong. The Supreme Court is not the law of the land, The U.S. Constitution is. I would like to respectfully ask, if you haven’t already, read the Constitution.

        Yes the ATF does enforce federal firearms laws but that act is unlawful and unconstitutional and it is every American citizen’s duty to inform our government who they work for and to correct the unlawful behavior of federal depts. like the ATF.

        • Now we’re talking.

          You could say I’m familiar with the Constitution. I might hold it in higher regard than nearly everything, and I might even be able to recite big chunks of it on command. But, the Constitution is irrelevant in this case. Some might call it semantic.

          WHAT?! BLASPHEMY!

          Let me explain first. While our nation should be using our Founding Fathers’ playbook, we’re not anymore. What you named is what the SCOTUS SHOULD be doing- not what they are doing or have done.
          In actual fact, when the SCOTUS interprets a law with reference to the Constitution, they bend the Constitution to their political preference using long-winded essays, and the law is then enforced according to their ruling. The SCOTUS has said none of what you named is unreasonable and cannot be considered prohibitively burdensome, and so the laws you and I hate are enforced every day, whether they’re Constitutional or not. People get arrested and go to jail over them, even though the playbook says the basis for their arrest is wrong. It doesn’t matter what the playbook says when you look at what happens every day- what’s happening is how it actually is.

          It’s a shame, but it’s where we are. I don’t have a solution, but it’s important to rephrase your argument- educate people that machine guns ARE legal and that they’re fun and safe, but the government doesn’t want them to have them. Educate people that the ATF sends people to prison for life over paperwork hiccups, when all they wanted to do, for example, was shoot their guns more quietly. We can’t win this thing by arguing about whether the SCOTUS is behaving itself.

    • The law in 1934 required a tax stamp to own a full auto weapon by the general public. Hence the ATF being a tax collecting agency. Up until Reagan; (The Great Conservative) passed the 1986 control bill, (Called the firearms owners protection act) A person could take a semi-auto rifle, put in a full auto trigger set and register it as full auto with the ATF. So for around a thousand dollars, you could own a full auto weapon. After The Firearms owners restriction act was passed; the only full auto weapons that could be owned by the general public are those registered before 1986.

      So that same full auto M-16 you could have owned for a thousand dollars, now sells for over $20,000.

      Reagan was Republican, or a statist, not a conservative that really believed in being guided by the constitution.

      • Very good! Thank you for that info. 🙂 I don’t claim to know everything, just enough to be dangerous. lol

      • I don’t think you know the history of the Hughes Amendment, which screwed up FOPA. You may want to educate yourself about it. You might also want to consider that the subcommittee that reported on FOPA stated:

        “The conclusion is thus inescapable that the history, concept, and wording of the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as well as its interpretation by every major commentator and court in the first half century after its ratification, indicates that what is protected is an individual right of a private citizen to own and carry firearms in a peaceful manner.”

        This was more than 20 years before Heller. Yeah, that’s statism right there.

  11. “Assault rifles have been illegal for civilian ownership since 1934.”

    No. Review NFA 1934, GCA 1968. Regulated, yes, illegal, no.

    • Semantics. The point is, assault weapons are illegal and have been for many years. When Congress tries to pass an assault weapons ban, which again they have no authority to do, they are trying to ban weapons that are already banned.

      • BTW, these federal laws…NFA 1934, GCA 1968, are unconstitutional and are therefore unenforceable.

      • They’re not illegal. They’re regulated. That’s not the same thing.

        Your state may not allow you to have one, but mine does. The feds would allow you to have as many as you wanted, if you lived in a state that didn’t prohibit it.

        Please define ‘unenforceable.’ The ATF enforces the hell out of federal and state firearms laws. They even enforce some that don’t exist!

        • They’ve been regulated to the point where they may as well be illegal. Even the cheapest MAC-10 sells for about $5,000, and an M16 for a bare minimum of $14,000. Can your average Joe Schmoe own one? Economics quite clearly says — and only says — NO.

        • Bullshit. If I wanted one I could pony up $20,000 tomorrow morning. They are not illegal, and your argument damages the prospects for ever changing the law to make them more accessible.

        • @ Excedrine

          Except they’re not illegal. They’re expensive. We use different words for those things because they’re not the same. By your logic, a new Corvette ‘may as well be illegal.’

          Yes, the government is very good at ruining all sorts of natural markets. Yes, the effect of all the regulation has been to make it too expensive for some people to afford. Sorry, but that’s not the same thing.

      • Not semantics. Google the Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot, and watch a bunch of people shooting MGs up to .50 including no-shit Thompson subguns and real, live M-16s in private hands, complete with barrels shorter than 16″ and silencers. Illegal is the wrong word, and that needs to be pointed out EVERY time somebody tells you that crap, as we are telling you!

        25 years ago I was stationed in Okinawa, and my boss announced that a coworker would not be returning from leave, he would be spending years in prison instead as he’d been “caught” firing a submachine gun (turned out to be an Uzi) which is of course way illegal. I caught him later and informed him the man might have such guns legally registered, whereupon he told me I was just wrong and to drop it. OK. Around 3 weeks later the guy returned, really pissed that he had not yet gotten his fully legal machine gun back from CA cops, thankful he had a bunch more fully legal machine guns to play with in the meantime.

        Wrong is wrong, not semantics.

        • Yes, I acknowledged that in my post to Guy. Very regulated by a federal firearms law that is so very unconstitutional.

  12. What a great article. I read it in it’s entirety. I kept waiting for a but…BTW I was in my favorite gun shop ( Blythes in Griffith Indiana) yesterday and was surprised to see several brand new AR’s marked down to $599. Time to scrape up some $ and put one on layaway. I never really wanted one until the BS of the last 18 months. I’ll still have to figure out where the heck I can shoot it LOL

  13. Am I the only one who thinks ‘thank GOD that’s the case?!’

    If we keep pointing out to them that they’re going after features that are purely cosmetic, eventually we’ll teach them which features they could legitimately argue against – scopes, certain calibers, accurizing features and work… STFU, people!

    • How about you STFU and quit giving them ideas your-damn-self!?

      No would should absolutely not be thankful for this or any other fascicle nonsense promulgated by the obstructionist civilian disarmament industrial complex. They should STFU, too.

  14. Obama finally said the truth a while ago when he called them assault-STYLE weapons. All the restrictions are on style not substance. It seems to me that style and self expression are protected by the FIRST amendment. Where are our lawyers on this? Once they admit it’s style they are banning, “no pink guns”, they have destroyed their own arguments. Seems to me we should be yelling about first amendment violations on this.

    • They never had any valid arguments to begin with, and were completely destroyed since before they were uttered.

      • True, their arguments have always been absurd. My point is that when they first started they called them “assault weapons”. Since the term had no real meaning their argument were enough to sway the ignorant. In the last few years they have started calling them “assault style weapons”, an admission that this is a style matter, not one of substance. I keep wondering why our side isn’t hammering on the first amendment issue as well as the second amendment.

  15. Reminds me of the old joke popular among us preachers:

    “Realizing the second point of his sermon was weak, old Rev. Smith wrote a note in his manuscript: ‘Weak point, yell and pound on pulpit here.'”

    This is precisely the tactic of the folks who agitate against “assault weapons”

  16. The catchphrase “assault rifle” applied to semi-automatic rifles is just deliberate propaganda…aka big fat lie. But you cannot scare the uniformed/disinformed with catchphrases like “rifle with a clippy thing for lotsa bullets and a thing that goes up”, so, you won’t “educate” the deliberate liars, nor the people who believe their lies without question into saying anything more accurate, but I wouldn’t stop trying.
    If the axiom “…if it saves one life…” makes sense to these people, then the paraphrase “…if it changes one mind…” is equally valid.

  17. Guy: Thank you for your comments. I agree with you that things are the way they are and have been for some time because we let it happen, but it needs to stop. And yes, I believe we can win this thing. If we ALL stand together and fight for our freedoms and rights, we can prevail. Look what happened in Nevada with just a few hundred citizens saying they have had enough abuse. WE CAN WIN THIS! WE ALL NEED TO STAND TOGETHER!

  18. The whole argument that the banned features make the weapon an “assault weapon” because they can make it easier to grip or hold the weapon is bogus for a few reasons. For one, yes a pistol grip can make holding the weapon more comfortable, sure. But it does not provide any major improvement in the ability to use the weapon from the standpoint of a mass shooter. Pistol grip or no pistol grip, a mass shooter can equally shoot people.

    Two, by that argument, pretty much any ergonomic feature added to the gun can be used to arbitrarily label it as an “assault weapon.” Scopes, floating stocks, etc…anything could be used. Next they will try to change the definition to including detachable box magazines as a so-called “military style feature.” The term “military style feature” is also bogus, because it too is arbitrary and the Second Amendment protects the right of the people to possess military guns.

    Technically, all the basic guns possessed by civilians are military. 9mm hand guns, .45 caliber hand guns, bolt-action rifles (the Remington 700 hunting rifle has been used by the military as a sniper rifle for decades), shotguns (during WW1 the Germans wanted to try American soldiers who were captured using the 12 gauge pump action shotgun for war crimes—the 12 gauge became known as the “trench broom”).

  19. Put rainbow flags and tactical duct tape with little smiley pictures of Malcom X, MLK and trayvon on it. Then when they try to take your guns, you can call them anti-gay bigots and racists.

  20. The term “assault weapon” was invented by the mendacious spokes-weasel of VPC/HCI, Josh Sugarman.

    • Here’s a quote from Sugarman that pretty much elaborates why he uses it and advocates other anti-gun spokespeople should, as well:

      “Assault weapons—just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms—are a new topic. 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. In addition, few people can envision a practical use for these weapons.”

      -Josh Sugarmann, Assault Weapons and Accessories in America, 1988

      The term was in use before Sugarman glommed onto it, and as near as I can tell, originated with the Germans in WWII, when Hitler chose the name “Sturmgewehr 44” for the new select fire rifle invented for the Wermacht and issued in 1944. The Stg 44’s name used the word “Sturm” for dramatic effect. The word means “Storm”, “tempest”, “gale” but ALSO “assault” or “attack”. So. literally “Sturmgewehr” may be translated as “assault rifle”, just as “Sturmtruppen” may be translated “assault troops”.

  21. @DerryM

    Assault weapon = political speak
    Assault rifle = technical term (with historical influence)

    The roots of the latter have no bearing on the former whose sole purpose is to manipulate emotion. Let Sugarmann own it.

    • @ Gbo, I already had said what you are saying in another comment..that it is merely propaganda aka “political speak”. Sugarmann did not originate the term, but he defined its propaganda use placement for the anti-gun groups. I would not even expect Sugarmann had any idea this propaganda baby of his originated with the NAZI’s, which is darkly ironic since he is Jewish. Some of his relatives possibly could have been shot with Stg44’s (though by then most Jewish victims of the Death Camps were being gassed, since bullets were more sorely needed to shoot Soviet Ivans who wouldn’t strip down and file into a “shower” room for convenient killing).
      Nonetheless, I see your point about relevancy and would agree normally, except the irony of this situation was too deliciously twisted to pass up. Sorry if I misled you.

  22. The regulatory elimination of specific cosmetic features inherent in certain weapon designs (AR rifle platform) reduces the accessibility of these tools for people with physical limitations and/or disabilities.

    Why isn’t this being highlighted at every opportunity by gun rights groups? Gun control advocacy groups (Bloomberg, et al) are creating accessibility barriers for Americans who might want/need the function of these devices; hunting, recreation, personal defense.

    Is the NY SAFE Act an infringement on the rights of the disabled? If a weapon’s function doesn’t change and the law is simply reducing usability and accessibility – could this be viewed as targeted discrimination?

  23. The last sentence is ‘golden’!

    “Write a stupid law, you’ll get a stupid outcome. Bravo, New York. Bravo.”


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