The term “assault weapon” or “assault rifle” is a phony and inaccurate term used dishonestly to describe a semi-automatic modern sporting rifle. The term was invented in 1988 by Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center to cash in on the confusion in much of the public over the difference between a semi-automatic rifle that fires one bullet per each pull of the trigger and a full-automatic machine gun firing multiple rounds by holding back the trigger. Sugarmann explained his intentions at the time:
“The public’s confusion over fully-automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons — anything that looks like a machine gun is presumed to be a machine gun — can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.”
Full-auto machine guns had to be registered with the AFT under the Federal Firearms Act of 1934, and as of July 31, 1986 all machine guns not already registered on that date are banned completely for possession by citizens. Thus, the stock of machine guns that can be legally owned by citizens was frozen on that date (believed to be about 200,000) and cannot be transferred to a new owner without local law enforcement approval and the filing of extensive paperwork with the ATF, and paying a $200 tax. As a result of this 1986 limiting lawful ownership to only those machine guns already owned, a machine gun legal to own by a citizen today will cost upwards of $20.000 to $30,000. An identical one manufactured after 1986 routinely sells for less that $1,000. Only law enforcement and governments agencies can buy them.
Finally, after 30 years of bald faced lying, the New York Times admitted in an op-ed Friday that the term “assault weapon” is a phony made-up term to make it easier to gain public support for restricting them.
The Clinton gun ban of 1994 banned so-called “Assault Rifles” that bore certain “military style” characteristics. Crime went down but a definitive study cited in the NYT’s op-ed showed it was not because of the ban on these rifles. Most murders and robberies are commented with handguns, not rifles. Only about 2 present of such crimes are committed with rifles of all sorts. When the Clinton ban expired ten years later crime did not rise, in fact it went down.