The talk this week on First News with Keeler in the Morning has been consumed by gun control. Governor Cuomo did his best to be first and now we're facing a battle between the White House and Second Amendment purists. Every time the topic came up this week on the radio, the question was posed concerning the true definition of an assault rifle. I think that no matter which side of the issue you're on, accurate definitions of the terminology is a must! Therefore, after a brief investigation, here's what I came up with...
-A real Assault Rifle - Is a compact rifle capable of selective full automatic fire, otherwise known as a machine gun. When you hold the trigger, it keeps firing. Automatic weapons have been illegal in the United States since 1930's. In the essence of full disclosure, certain states do have limited licensing for these weapons, mostly for collectors.
During the last several years, weapons that look like military assault rifles have been gaining popularity. Collectors especially like these military style guns. These guns, while not nearly as powerful, look like military weapons. The one thing that makes these guns more collectable also makes them look more dangerous to someone who isn't familiar with guns.
What is an AR15?
It's the civilian version of the M16. The semi-automatic version.
What is an Assault Rifle or Assault Weapon?
This is a made-up term used by Congress for guns that look like military guns. Features like a bayonet lug (a knob on the side of the barrel which allows for the bayonet to attach), collapsable or adjustable stock, detachable magazine, pistol grip and a muzzle devise, flash suppressor (used so the shooter doesn't get night blindness while shooting), threaded barrels, etc.
The Assault Weapons ban was passed by Congress in 1993. New York passed a similar bill. This bill banned any semi-automatic gun that has more than 2 of the assault rifle features listed above. Despite the bill being enacted as law, manufacturers were able to make the same guns - but with only 2 of the features...in order to make them legal. That law expired in 2003 nationally, but not in New York State. The law remains in effect here, even today in NYS.
Second Amendment supporters feel there is a misconception of the definition of assault weapons (or automatic weapons) as compared to semi-automatic weapons which are often used by hunters and local gun enthusiasts.
Semi-Automatic weapons shoot one bullet each time the trigger is squeezed. Automatic weapons fire continuously when the trigger is continuously squeezed.