Gregory McGann: Defining weapons

December 28, 2012 

Defining weapons

With gun control becoming such an issue once more, is it too much to ask that you report things accurately?

You obviously think that “assault rifles” and “assault weapons” are the same thing. How can we debate the issue intelligently when you keep telling us there are no differences between apples and oranges? Your definition of an assault rifle was actually an expired definition of an assault weapon.

An assault rifle is shoulder-fired, full-auto or selective-fire, using a detachable box magazine and an intermediate cartridge. They have been regulated since 1938, made extremely difficult to own since 1968, and new ones have been totally banned since 1986. The number of crimes committed with a legally owned assault rifle: zero.

In 1994 the Clinton Ban first created assault weapons in order to ban them, and did so using cosmetic features only while specifically excluding actual assault rifles and machine guns. It was known as the ugly gun ban for a reason. When the ban expired in 2004 so did the legal definition. Much like the gun show loophole, assault weapons do not currently exist under the law.

Gregory McGann

Raleigh

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