As I have encountered several times over the course of debating gun control in the wake of the horrific Parkland mass shooting, pro-gun advocates really like catching people referring to AR-15’s as “assault rifles.” They will laugh and assert that the person saying it doesn’t know what they’re talking about, and therefore dismiss their entire argument (missing the point entirely.) So, I’m careful not to actually call AR-15’s assault rifles. But I do refer to them as “military-style” weapons, because that is what they are.
The semantics debate obfuscates the core issues that many people have with these weapons. What gun control advocates are often trying to say when they refer to AR-15’s in this way is simply that they (and similar weapons) are highly powerful and can fire many rounds in a short amount of time, making them ideal for mass slaughter. AR-15’s are semi-automatic (one round fired per trigger pull) while assault weapons are fully automatic (multiple rounds fired as long as trigger is pulled.) But one aspect of the AR-15 that helps make it popular is that it is a highly customizable rifle. With add-ons called “bump stocks,” people are legally able to mimic full-auto fire, thus making that distinction negligible, especially for the purposes of a debate on the deadliness of these weapons. There are other customizations such as trigger cranks and binary triggers, which may or may not be legal, but which nonetheless are readily available.
As much as pro-gun advocates will try to deny it, even though technically AR-15’s aren’t actually assault-rifles, they can be customized to mimic them. Look at these examples of gun enthusiasts demonstrating how quickly they can shoot:
So, no, gun advocates…AR-15’s are not technically assault rifles. But, as shown above, they can easily and legally mimic them, and don’t belong in the hands of civilians. Period.
Photo credit: Pixabay.com/meketrefe