assault weapons are not assault rifles

This is an assault rifle: 


This is an “assault weapon”: 


Can you spot what makes one an “assault rifle” and one an “assault weapon”?  I will give you a few hints: it is not the stock, the pistol grip, the sights, the barrel length, or the fact that the top one has a flat-top upper receiver. 

Nope, the answer is quite simple: assault rifles are capable of fully-automatic fire, while the bottom rifle is not. 

What does “fully-automatic fire” mean?  In short, if you were to pull and hold the trigger on the top rifle with its safety selector switch set to “auto” (as it is now), more than one bullet would come out.  It could should three bullets, it could shoot five bullets, and it could empty the magazine (the setting depends on the gun, the application, and the end user’s desires), but the point is more than one round would be discharged. 

The bottom rifle has no such capacity.  You can pull and hold that trigger until Ragnarok, and only a single bullet will ever come out of its barrel. 

As such, “assault weapons”, like that AR-15 (the rifle on the bottom) cannot be “assault rifles” (the M4 on top), because every single “assault weapon” ban I am familiar with defines the rifle variation of “assault weapons” as “a semi-automatic rifle that has…”.  Semi-automatic rifles cannot be fully-automatic, though fully-automatic rifles can be semi-automatic. 

In the end, “assault weapons” are made-up boogey-men, fabricated by anti-rights cultists and politicians (but I largely repeat myself) in order to demonize the second firearm by saying it looks like the first.  This is true, but regulating firearms based on aesthetic features is simply idiotic, does not keep people from getting “military-style” hardware, and does not stop people from buying even more powerful and capable rifles

In the end, if you cannot accurately articulate the difference between assault rifles and “assault weapons”, you have no business calling for a new “assault weapon” ban, or any form of “gun control”, for that matter.  Ignorance is not the superior arguing position, nor should new legislation be based out of it. 

do not say i never gave you anything

I am a big visual person… I prefer people show me things as opposed to explain them to me, and I learn a lot faster that way – let me watch what you are doing a few times, and the odds are pretty good that I can emulate it with a fair degree of accuracy (assuming we are not talking about something with a significant skill or experience prerequisite). As such, it should come as no surprise to folks that I have a history of creating pretty graphs and pictures to try to explain myself to other people – sure, I typically follow up those graphics with a metric ton of text, but hopefully between the two presentation methods, I reach more folks.

Well, in order to try to consolidate all of that useful information, I give you the new “graphics matter” page here at “walls of the city” – I have the pictures and textual take-away from my posts debunking “more guns = more ‘gun violence'”, “more guns = more deaths”, “‘gun control’ is crime control”, “public safety requires gun control”, “Assault Weapon Bans” by way of a comparison, “Assault Weapon Bans” and the question of “military hardware”, and “Assault Weapon Bans” and firearms’ aesthetic features; all in one happy little place.

None of the facts, or pictures documenting them, will convince or even sway the hardcore anti-rights cultists out there, but hopefully they will be useful for reaching the fence-sitters you know. Put them to good use, and enjoy!