Invalid Arguments (Part 3) Assault Rifles

The term assault is defined as “A violent physical or verbal attack

According to most media reports now, it seems that almost all crime is committed with an “Assault Rifle”. What they fail to mention is that you can use anything you want to commit the crime of assault including: Your Voice, Hands, Baseball Bat, Towel to the backside in the locker room, Car,  Brick, M4, or even the AR-15. I am not arguing the fact that you can’t use a rifle to commit assault, I am saying that you can use anything! The media these days puts the term “Assault Rifle” into uneducated peoples’ heads to demonize not only the AR-15 but all weapons. This is most recently noted in the Navy Yard Shooting in which Aaron Alexis used a self modified shotgun to go on a shooting rampage. Unfortunately CNN still says that he used an AR-15. When they learned it was a shotgun the renamed it an AR-15 Shotgun:

In this particular instance he did not use an Assault Shotgun, but he did use a shotgun to commit assault on people. Just as a similar shooter, James Holmes, used an rifle to commit assault on a group of movie-goers in Aurora, CO. The latter just happened to actually be an AR-15. Unfortunately what most people don’t understand is that he could have used a wooden stocked rifle and had the same results. The difference is the scary factor.

Many people use the term to describe an Assault Rifle as cosmetic. I disagree. A cosmetic change would have no impact on the functionality of the weapon similar to the way make-up has no performance enhancing features for women. Adding a laser will help in accuracy when your brain is busy thinking about something else. I know that the bullet will go where the green dot is rather than lining up my sights when my brain is in gross motor skills mode. Adding a foregrip helps control the weapon system. The list can go on and on but these are not cosmetic. If you want a cosmetic addition, order the pink furniture by clicking on the picture:

In closing, an assault weapon can be any weapons system. Military or not,  Full Auto or Semi, scary looking or not. It doesn’t matter what size the caliber is, how long the barrel is, or how it’s made. It only matters in how it is used. To the people that get their information from the TV without researching it, the picture below is of two separate guns. The top is a hunting rifle and the bottom is an assault rifle. To the knowledgeable, one is simply wooden and the other is metal.


Posted on December 13, 2013, in Firearms and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I would question calling the definition of assault rifle cosmetic: a rapid-fire, magazine-fed automatic rifle designed for infantry use. Fascinatingly, this definition precludes the semi-automatic AR-15, doesn’t it?

    Dave Armstrong ( traces the creation of the battle rifle with the development of the M14 followed by the introduction of the M16, which by and large was the U.S. military’s first fielded assault rifle.

    The term “assault weapon” is the politically-charged, empty-of-meaning term that is used as a catch-all to demonize all weapons that aren’t pistols (though I found the AR-15 assault shotgun moniker especially stupid).

    • I don’t really know how to take your comments. I didn’t define an assault weapon as cosmetic, quite the opposite actually. My article exemplifies everything you said in your last paragraph.

  2. “The media these days puts the term “Assault Rifle” into uneducated peoples’ heads to demonize not only the AR-15 but all weapons.” That’s close, but not quite right. The media conflates the terms assault rifle and “assault weapon,” but the two are not synonymous.

    Perhaps firearms advocates feel that they are “not arguing the fact that you can’t use a rifle to commit assault” but the “assault” in assault rifle is not in reference to a violation of the penal code. Assault rifle is the lower reference point versus the term battle rifle on the high end–an acknowledgement by the U.S. military that M14-class (7.62mm chambered) infantry rifles are far more powerful and rugged than M16-class (5.56mm chambered) rifles. There are always exceptions, like the 7.62 mm AK-47 assault rifle which likely should be classified as a battle rifle anyway. Today, some rifles are both: the FN SCAR has both Light (5.56mm) and Heavy (7.62mm) variants.

    In part one, you explored the development of the AR-15:

    “They found that most hits were accurate under 300 meters and that most actual hits occurred under 100 meters. The ORO determined that the Army needed a low recoil, high velocity rifle capable of firing in semi-auto and full-auto.. It also needed to be light, only 6 lbs loaded, and capable of holding at least a 20 round magazine. It must also be able to penetrate a standard soldiers helmet at 500 meters

    Fast forward to 1957 when the Army asked for bids to produce the rifle. The three main contenders were:

    The Winchester .224 Lightweight Military Rifle

    The Springfield Armory in .224

    The Armalite AR-15 in .223”

    Why would the U.S. Army replace WWII-era .30-06 infantry weapons with a .223 rifle? They didn’t. The 1948 specifications first generated the 7.62x51mm M14 and M60 to replace the 7.62x63mm M1 Garand and M1918 BAR. When studies of WWII infantry combat indicated that the .30-06 round was overpowered, the Army took into consideration whether a smaller, less powerful round would permit soldiers to carry both more ammunition and maintain a higher rate of fire. Thus was born the 1957 competition that generated the AR-15 and the M16.

    I know this is splitting hairs, but you devoted an entire post to describing the difference between clips and magazines. For historical and technical purposes, isn’t describing what an assault rifle actually is in order?

    • I can see where you are going with that now. For time constraint I don’t think I’ll mess with going into the history of what makes it an assault weapon. Assault Weapon, Assault Rifle, or Battle Rifle. It is all semantics but the people that choose to understand how a firearm is used know the difference. It is the uneducated that is taking what the mostly uneducated media tells them as the truth to, like you said, demonize all weapons.

      My point to part 3 is that when I talk to these uneducated people and they start using terms like Assault Rifle to describe a scary looking black weapon I know that they probably don’t really know what they are talking about from that point forward.

      Thanks for the comments! I love having intelligent conversations. And if I am wrong on anything, please call me out on it!

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