News and Commentary

7 Things You Need To Know About ‘Assault Rifles’

In response to the terrorist attack in Orlando, FL, the leftist media is up in arms about assault rifles, without clearly understanding what they are. Here are seven things you need to know about “assault rifles.”

1. The criteria for defining an assault rifle rely on three features.

These features, as defined by IJ Review’s Joe Perticone, are:

  • Being able to switch between semiautomatic and automatic settings.
  • Firing an intermediate cartridge, which isn’t as powerful as a full power battle rifle cartridge but carries more force than typical pistol cartridges.
  • Featuring a detachable magazine.

If any one of those criteria isn’t met, then it’s not an assault rifle. With that in mind…

2. The Orlando terrorist did not use an assault rifle.

It’s been widely misreported that the terrorist used an AR-15, which isn’t an assault rifle, anyway. According to WBRL, the terrorist used a Sig Sauer MCX. As RedState blogger streiff explains:

Now this Sig is every bit as dangerous as an AR-15. It is sold in a semi-auto version to sportsmen and in full automatic by assorted special operations forces worldwide. The point is that it is not and AR-15 and no one, other than the media, ever claimed it was an AR-15. In fact, there is no humanly possible way it could be mistaken for an AR-15. This is not a mistake. This is a narrative. It is designed to build a consensus that the AR-15 is uniquely dangerous and contrive to outlaw it. Once that is accomplished the cry will be raised to outlaw similar weapons.

Because the Sig is sold as a semi-automatic weapon to those who are not in special operations forces, it is simply inaccurate to say the terrorist used an assault rifle.

3. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) thinks that an AR-15 can shoot 700 rounds a minute. This is incredibly false.

In an appearance on CNN’s OutFront, Grayson told anchor Erin Burnett, “If he was not able to buy a weapon that shoots off 700 rounds in a minute, a lot of those people would still be alive. If somebody like him had nothing worse to deal with than a Glock pistol…he might have killed three or four people and not 50. It’s way too easy to kill people in America today and we have to think long and hard about what to do about that.”

Burnett, being a leftist journalist who is clueless about guns, blithely responded, “You’re right about that.”

The Resurgent’s Steve Berman writes that Grayson “doubled down on stupid” with his comments.

“That rate of fire simply can’t be achieved using an AR-15,” writes Berman. “It’s mechanically impossible, given that the semi-automatic AR-15 takes longer than .08 seconds for a shooter to pull the trigger, fire, eject, load, and reset the trigger mechanism.”

Berman also points out that actual machine guns typically fire 500-650 rounds a minute, further evidence that Grayson and Burnett don’t understand guns at all.

4. Assault weapons bans don’t work.

As Crime Research Prevention Center president John Lott wrote in The Wall Street Journal in 2013:

Ms. [Sen. Dianne] Feinstein [(D-CA)] points to two studies by criminology professors Chris Koper and Jeff Rothfor the National Institute of Justice to back up her contention that the ban reduced crime. She claims that their first study in 1997 showed that the ban decreased “total gun murders.” In fact, the authors wrote: “the evidence is not strong enough for us to conclude that there was any meaningful effect (i.e., that the effect was different from zero).”

Messrs. Koper and Roth suggested that after the ban had been in effect for more years it might be possible to find a benefit. Seven years later, in 2004, they published a follow-up study for the National Institute of Justice with fellow criminologist Dan Woods that concluded, “we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence. And, indeed, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence.”

Lott continued, “In 2003, the last full year before the law expired, the U.S. murder rate was 5.7 per 100,000 people, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report. By 2011, the murder rate fell to 4.7 per 100,000 people.”

5. Most mass shootings aren’t committed with assault weapons.

According to a study conducted by Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox and student Monica DeLateur, “The typical weapon used is a pistol, not an ‘assault weapon’ like the semi-automatic AR-15 rifle. Assault weapons were used in 24.6 percent of mass shootings, handguns in 47.9 percent.”

The AR-15 is not an assault rifle since it doesn’t have the selective fire capability of switching between semi-automatic and automatic, but the point is that AR-15’s and other guns that media consider to be assault weapons are not the weapon of choice for mass shooters. The authors of the study concluded that short of a gun ban, no measures of gun control would effectively curb mass shootings.

It’s been widely misreported that the terrorist used an AR-15, which isn’t an assault rifle.

6. Despite what many think, an assault weapon can’t hold larger magazine clips than hunting rifles.

According to Lott, a gun that is capable of carrying a magazine can hold any magazine, no matter how large it is.

7. Semi-automatic weapons, which the left views as “assault rifles” or “assault weapons,” are a necessary self-defense tool.

As Lott wrote, “Single-shot rifles that require you to physically reload the gun may not do people a lot of good when they are facing multiple criminals or when their first shot misses or fails to stop an attacker.”

In other words, semi-automatic weapons such as an AR-15 make it easier for people to defend themselves from cold-blooded murders like the Orlando terrorist.