As per request by Gene Hoffman, and as a matter of strategic sense, I will be changing some nomenclature on the blog. I will no longer refer to “assault weapons” when referring to (arbitrarily) banned self-loading rifles. I caution against complying with his desire to refer to these inanimate objects as semi-automatic, as I think the word “automatic” can incite a reaction in some readers. Thus “assault weapons” are now “(arbitrarily) banned self-loading rifles”. This description is more accurate, and the terminology helps to avoid confusion and unintended reaction. Also, I will no longer use the term “CCW” (Carrying a Concealed Weapon, or Concealed Carry of a Weapon). Instead, I will use either carry license, or license to carry.
I had purposely used the term “assault weapon” (in quotes) to imply that it is not describing anything specific. Anything used to assault anything else is an assault weapon. I am wearing assault shoes. This is being written on an assault computer with my assault fingers. I am assaulting you with my commentary. Assault in this usage is based on the (fallacious) intention of the user. Using this flawed definition, everything is an assault weapon, as anything could theoretically be used as such.
Unfortunately, even using terms in quotes does not fully deflate the incendiary language that is implied. “Assault weapon” is an irresponsible term that was intended to be confused with “assault rifle“. But they are not the same thing- no matter how similar they look. The similarities in appearance were used as a scare tactic in passing the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989 and the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, the subtitle of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.
An assault rifle is a selective fire (selectable between semi-auto and fully automatic) rifle (capable of being fired from the shoulder) that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Assault rifles are the standard infantry weapons in most modern armies. Assault rifles are categorized in between light machine guns, which are intended more for sustained automatic fire in a light support role, and submachine guns, which fire a pistol cartridge rather than a rifle cartridge.
I posted this video earlier but figured it was worth another appearance:
And while we’re on the topic of nomenclature, here’s the magazine vs. clip video again: