What is an ‘assault weapon’?

As the debate over firearm ownership in the United States continues to grow following the deadly Boulder, Colorado, Atlanta-area, and Virginia Beach shootings, the term “assault weapon” is once again being used in political discourse to describe many firearms.

An AR-15 semi-automatic rifle at a gun shop in Richmond, Va., on Jan. 13, 2020. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

The term “assault weapon” or “assault rifle” has been predominantly wielded by those seeking more stringent firearm laws in the U.S. and refers to a class of firearms that possesses certain characteristic features. The components in question make a gun look military-style and have little effect on the overall mechanics of the firearm itself.

On March 11, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a leading voice in the gun control movement, introduced the Assault Weapons Ban of 2021, which defined a “semiautomatic assault weapon” as a firearm that “has the capacity to utilize a [detachable] magazine” and has “any 1 of the following: a pistol grip, a forward grip, a folding, telescoping, or detachable stock, a grenade launcher, a barrel shroud” or “a threaded barrel.”

Feinstein’s definition, which has been largely adopted by states such as New York, California, Maryland, and Connecticut to craft statewide bans on the firearms, extends to pistols and semi-automatic shotguns, not just rifles. The top Democrat included a list of firearms that would meet “assault weapon” qualifications, including AK-type firearms, the AR–15, the FN SCAR, the Galil ACE rifle, and the Steyr AUG, among hundreds of others…

The Gun Owners of America, one of the largest pro-Second Amendment groups in the country, agreed with the NSSF’s assessment, calling “assault weapon” a “made-up” term.

“Radical anti-gunners have no problem twisting words to suit their agenda. This is no more apparent than when they made up the term ‘assault weapon’ decades ago — a term which has no true definition,” GOA Senior Vice President Erich Pratt told the Washington Examiner. “Millions of honest Americans own AR-15s for self- and home defense, making this rifle a very commonly owned firearm. It can be said that the AR-15 is truly America’s rifle.”…

Read more at MSN.News