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What is an "Assault" Weapon and What is Not?
This is going to be short and sweet. As anyone can see from the accompanying graphic, an "assault weapon" is merely a semi-automatic weapon that LOOKS MEAN. That's about it. Fully automatic weapons (i.e., the kind that keep firing as you hold down the trigger - commonly known as a "machine gun") are already regulated. Semi-automatic weapons are merely any gun, handgun or rifle, that will fire ONE round each time you squeeze the trigger. So, boys and girls, under an "assault weapons ban," unless carefully crafted to include only weapons that LOOK MEAN, many legitimate weapons would be banned. Even a .22 calibre pistol that is not (a) a single shot or (b) a revolver.
"In discussions about gun laws and gun politics in the United States, an assault weapon is most commonly defined as a semi-automatic firearm possessing certain cosmetic, ergonomic, or construction features similar to those of military firearms. Semi-automatic firearms fire one bullet (round) each time the trigger is pulled; the spent cartridge case is ejected and another cartridge is loaded into the chamber, without requiring the manual operation of a bolt handle, a lever, or a sliding handgrip. An assault weapon has a detachable magazine, in conjunction with one, two, or more other features such as a pistol grip, a folding or collapsing stock, a flash suppressor, or a bayonet lug. Most assault weapons are rifles, but pistols or shotguns may also fall under the definition(s) or be specified by name." (Wikipedia)
Note: "cosmetic, ergonomic, or construction features similar to those of military firearms." It does not mean they ARE military firearms. In point of fact, "cosmetic" is usually the determining factor, which is truly dumb.
By the way - who would determine what "assault weapons" LOOK MEAN? Nancy Pelosi? Harry Reid? Michelle Obama? Rosie O'Donnell? Your guess is as good as mine.
Now, with respect to those who say an "assault weapons" ban would not mean confiscation of already owned weapons, that is probably true. BUT there is other legislation (or proposed legislation) that would pave the way for confiscation by mandating registration of these "assault weapons." There are many politicians on the left of the political spectrum who would like to see private ownership of firearms be banned altogether. (Don't believe me? Read some of the proposals floating around these days.) First step to confiscation - know where they are.
One more thing - President Clinton enacted an "assault weapon" ban back in the 1990s that was in place for some ten years. Do you know what the effect was on crime? NOTHING.
"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Notice the words in bold.