Assault weapon is an automatic or semiautomatic firearm.
== Quotes ==
=== 1985 ===
The only use for assault weapons is to shoot people.
Art Agnos, American politician, state of California Assemblyman from San Francisco, after the San Ysidro McDonald's massacre (Ingram, Carl (April 9, 1985). "Restricting of Assault-Type Guns OKd by Assembly Unit". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on September 5, 2018. ).
=== 1989 ===
Across America, the firepower in the hands of gun owners of varying stripes is increasing dramatically. The reason: assault weapons. Drug traffickers are finding that assault weapons—in addition to 'standard issue' handguns—provide the extra firepower necessary to fight police and competing dealers. Right-wing paramilitary extremists, in their ongoing battle against the "Zionist Occupational Government," have made these easily purchased firearms their gun of choice. And rank and file gun aficionados—jaded with handguns, shotguns, and hunting rifles—are moving up to the television glamour and movie sex appeal of assault weapons. The growing market for these weapons—coupled with a general rising interest in the non-sporting use of firearms—has generated an industry of publications, catalogs, accessories, training camps, and combat schools dedicated to meeting its needs.
Sugarmann, Josh (1988). Assault weapons and accessories in America. Washington, D.C.: Violence Policy Center. ISBN 9780927291002.
=== 2000 ===
I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons.
Donald Trump (Trump, Donald; Shiflett, Dave (2000). The America We Deserve. Renaissance Books. ISBN 1580631312. ; Qiu, Linda; Bennett, Kitty (March 12, 2018). "Trump’s Evolving Positions on Gun Issues". The New York Times. Retrieved on September 6, 2018. ).
=== 2006 ===
Repealing the assault weapon bans opened a new market for military-style and exotic weapons for consumers. A lot of guys delight in having the biggest and most nasty-looking guns. That's one of the industry trends.
Robert A. Ricker, executive director of the American Hunters and Shooters Association, a membership group (Wayne, Leslie (April 11, 2006). "Smith & Wesson Is Fighting Its Way Back". The New York Times. Retrieved on October 31, 2018. )
=== 2008 ===
The popularly held idea that the term ‘assault weapon’ originated with anti-gun activists, media or politicians is wrong. The term was first adopted by the manufacturers, wholesalers, importers and dealers in the American firearms industry to stimulate sales of certain firearms that did not have an appearance that was familiar to many firearm owners. The manufacturers and gun writers of the day needed a catchy name to identify this new type of gun.
Peterson, Phillip (2008). Gun Digest buyer's guide to assault weapons. Krause Publications. ISBN 9780896896802. ; Goode, Erica (January 16, 2013). "Even Defining 'Assault Rifles' Is Complicated". The New York Times. Retrieved on September 5, 2018.
=== 2011 ===
Who does the National Rifle Association represent? In its direct-mail solicitations and public statements, the NRA presents itself as the uncompromising voice of the American gun owner. But new research reveals that since 2005 the NRA has received millions of dollars from the gun industry. The means by which the industry helps fund the NRA vary: from million-dollar industry grants to a program that rounds up gun store customers’ purchases to the nearest dollar with the difference going to the NRA—including a contribution from a soon-to-be mass shooter buying ammunition. Corporate contributors to the NRA come from every sector of the firearms industry, including: manufacturers of handguns, rifles, shotguns, assault weapons, and high-capacity ammunition magazines; gun distributors and dealers; and, vendors of ammunition and other shooting-related products. And they come from outside the firearms industry—including Xe, the new name for the now-infamous Blackwater Worldwide...The depth and breadth of gun industry financial support for the National Rifle Association makes clear that the self-proclaimed “America’s oldest civil rights organization” is, in fact, the gun industry’s most high-profile trade association. While the NRA works to portray itself as protecting the “freedoms” of its membership, it is, in fact protecting the gun industry’s freedom to manufacture virtually any gun or accessory it sees fit to produce....The mutually dependent nature of the National Rifle Association and the gun industry explains the NRA’s unwillingness to compromise on even the most limited controls over firearms or related products (such as restrictions on high-capacity ammunition magazines) and its support of legislation that clearly favors gunmakers over gun owners (such as legislation limiting the legal rights of gun owners killed or injured by defective firearms). The NRA claims that its positions are driven solely by a concern for the interests of gun owners, never mentioning its own financial stake in protecting the profits of its gun industry patrons.
Blood Money: How the Gun Industry Bankrolls the NRA. Violence Policy Center (April 2011). Retrieved on October 18, 2018.
=== 2012 ===
Assault weapons are versions of military rifles that are meant to kill people, not paper targets, clay pigeons or deer. They account for only a fraction of the guns sold and used in the United States, but they play a hugely outsize role in the national slaughter; rampage killers love them.
The New York Times editorial ("It's the Guns". The New York Times. December 20, 2012. Retrieved on September 4, 2018. )The grotesque irony? The National Shooting Sports Foundation locale. They’ve taken the lead in working to rebrand assault weapons as modern sporting rifles.
Josh Sugarmann, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut (Olinger, David (December 21, 2012). "War comes home for founder of group fighting for assault weapons ban". The Denver Post. Retrieved on October 19, 2018. ).The feverish demand for military-style rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines is outstripping supply, ahead of legislative efforts to ban them in the wake of mass shootings....Online retailers are running out of semiautomatic rifles -- known variously as assault weapons, tactical rifles or modern sporting rifles -- and magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds.Brick-and-mortar gun shops are also working furiously to meet demand.
Smith, Aaron (December 31, 2012). "Assault rifles are selling out". CNN. Retrieved on November 7, 2018.
=== 2013 ===
When the military switched over to this assault weapon, the whole context changed. The conversation became, ‘Is this the kind of gun you want in the civilian world?’ And we who advocate for regulation say, ‘No, you do not.’
Tom Diaz, an American writer, lawyer, and public speaker on the gun industry and gun control issues (Goode, Erica (January 16, 2013). "Even Defining ‘Assault Rifles’ Is Complicated". The New York Times. Retrieved on September 5, 2018. ).The Washington Post style guide describes the AR-15 as a "modern assault weapon."
Blake, Aaron (January 17, 2013). "Is it fair to call them ‘assault weapons’?". The Washington Post. Retrieved on September 28, 2018. Assault weapons were designed for and should be used on our battlefields, not on our streets. There is no inalienable right to own and operate 100-round clips on AR-15 assault rifles.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, at the introduction of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 (Gibson, Ginger (January 24, 2013). "Feinstein floats assault weapons ban". Politico. Retrieved on September 6, 2018. ).The AR-15 is, essentially, a gun that was designed to inflict maximum casualties, death, and injury, in close to medium range. That's what it does. The real problem is that we allow that kind of firepower to come into a theater or into a first-grade class. The names you see now are 'modern sporting rifle,' 'tactical rifle.' Those are all just euphemisms for 'assault weapon.' They're being very rational as marketers and as businesses—and as industries. They're only doing what cellphone companies do to make cellphones look different and be more attractive. The difference is what they're selling is lethality.
Tom Diaz (Lisson, Meghan (April 25, 2013). "Run on Guns: AR-15s Sales Soar". CNBC. Retrieved on October 5, 2018. ).It speaks to the fact that there are a lot of young men in the U.S. who will never be in the military but feel that male compulsion to warriorhood. Owning an assault weapon is a passport to that.
Tom Diaz (Singer, Natasha (February 2, 2013). "The Most Wanted Gun in America". The New York Times. Retrieved on October 5, 2018. ).In 1994, the AR-15 hit a speed bump. Congress passed a 10-year ban on "assault weapons," which legislators defined as semiautomatic rifles that included two or more specific features, like pistol-type handle grips and metal mounts, called bayonet lugs, to which bayonets could be attached. People who already owned such rifles were allowed to keep them.The ban made the rifles only more desirable for some consumers. To meet the demand, gun makers removed prohibited features, like bayonet lugs, and marketed them as legal alternatives."It was unfortunately an industrywide event where companies were openly bragging about their ability to sell guns in circumvention of the law," says Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, a research and gun-control advocacy group in Washington.The industry produced an estimated one million modified AR-15-style rifles during the ban -- more than it had produced of the original version in the previous decade.
Singer, Natasha (February 2, 2013). "The Most Wanted Gun in America". The New York Times. Retrieved on October 5, 2018. The most important feature of the previous ban was the prohibition on large-capacity ammunition magazines. A large magazine is arguably the most critical feature of an assault weapon, and restrictions on magazines have the potential to affect many more gun crimes than do those on military-style weapons. Restrictions focused on magazine capacity may also have a greater chance of gaining sufficient public and political support for passage than would new restrictions on assault weapons, though current polling suggests that both measures are supported by three-quarters of non-gun owners and nearly half of gun owners.
Koper, Christopher S. (2013). "America’s experience with the federal assault weapons ban, 1994–2004". Reducing Gun Violence. p. 168. ISBN 9781421411101.
=== 2015 ===
These results indicate that fatalities due to mass shootings were lower during both the federal and state assault weapons ban periods. Although some prior research has shown either that assault weapons bans did not reduce crime or that they actually increased gun-related murder rates, the present study’s focus on mass shootings shows the effectiveness of these gun control measures in reducing murders due to mass shootings. Regarding the injury regression, state-level assault weapons bans had no statistically-significant effects, but the federal ban had a significant and negative effect on mass shooting injuries....the present study’s focus on mass shootings shows the effectiveness of these gun control measures in reducing murders due to mass shootings...In 2012, for example, there were 72 fatalities due to mass public shootings. Of those 72, at least 30 were committed using a rifle. In the same year, there were 12,765 murders, of which only 322 were committed using a rifle. Rifles (assault weapons) are used much more frequently in mass shootings than they are in murders in general. Hence, any law that restricts access to rifles is likely to be much more effective in reducing mass shootings than it is in reducing murders in general.
Gius, Mark (2015). "The impact of state and federal assault weapons bans on public mass shootings". Applied Economics Letters 22 (4): pp. 281-284. doi:10.1080/13504851.2014.939367.
=== 2016 ===
Now, those who were killed and injured here were gunned down by a single killer with a powerful assault weapon. The motives of this killer may have been different than the mass shooters in Aurora or Newtown. But the instruments of death were so similar. And now another 49 innocent people are dead; another 53 are injured; some are still fighting for their lives; some will have wounds that will last a lifetime. We can’t anticipate or catch every single deranged person that may wish to do harm to his neighbors or his friends or his coworkers or strangers. But we can do something about the amount of damage that they do. Unfortunately, our politics have conspired to make it as easy as possible for a terrorist or just a disturbed individual like those in Aurora and Newtown to buy extraordinarily powerful weapons, and they can do so legally...I’m pleased to hear that the Senate will hold votes on preventing individuals with possible terrorist ties from buying guns, including assault weapons. I truly hope that senators rise to the moment and do the right thing. I hope that senators who voted no on background checks after Newtown have a change of heart. And then I hope the House does the right thing, and helps end the plague of violence that these weapons of war inflict on so many young lives.
United States President Barack Obama, in Orlando after the Orlando nightclub shooting (Rhodan, Maya (June 16, 2016). "President Obama: Orlando Families' Grief Is 'Beyond Description'". Time. Retrieved on September 2, 2018. ; Zezima, Katie; Nakashima, Ellen (June 16, 2016). "‘Our hearts are broken, too’: Obama visits survivors of Orlando rampage". The Washington Post. Retrieved on September 2, 2018. ; Korte, Gregory (June 16, 2016). "After meeting with Orlando victims, Obama renews call for gun control". USA Today. Retrieved on September 2, 2018. ).Assault weapons and high-capacity concealed carry handguns are the bread and butter of today's gun industry.
Josh Sugarmann Meier, Barry; de la Merced, Michael J. (June 21 2016). "Assault Rifles and Concealed Handguns at Center of a Changing Industry". Retrieved on October 8, 2018. Little has been done to address gun violence in the United States. Congress has not passed a gun control law since it sought to ban assault weapons in 1994, and that law proved largely ineffectual. It is remarkably difficult to define an “assault weapon.” They are semiautomatic, which means they fire a new bullet with each trigger pull, while automatically reloading. But most guns made today are semiautomatic, so the ban on assault weapons focused on the cosmetic military appearance of certain guns, and was easily evaded by alterations in design. Moreover, while gun rights proponents are hard-pressed to offer a legitimate reason for civilians to own assault weapons, they are used in a very small proportion of gun crimes. Most crimes involve ordinary handguns. So the assault weapon ban did little if anything to advance gun safety and Congress let it lapse in 2004.The most tangible effect of the ban on assault weapons was to set off a backlash against gun control by American voters in the 1994 midterms, in which the Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives for the first time in forty years. Having learned their lesson, most members of Congress have steered clear of gun control ever since.
Cole, David (July 14, 2016). "The Terror of Our Guns". The New York Review of Books.
=== 2017 ===
We’re introducing an updated Assault Weapons Ban for one reason: so that after every mass shooting with a military-style assault weapon, the American people will know that a tool to reduce these massacres is sitting in the Senate, ready for debate and a vote. This bill won’t stop every mass shooting, but it will begin removing these weapons of war from our streets. The first Assault Weapons Ban was just starting to show an effect when the NRA stymied its reauthorization in 2004. Yes, it will be a long process to reduce the massive supply of these assault weapons in our country, but we’ve got to start somewhere. To those who say now isn’t the time, they’re right—we should have extended the original ban 13 years ago, before hundreds more Americans were murdered with these weapons of war. To my colleagues in Congress, I say do your job.
Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, on the introduction of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017, a bill to ban the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines ( (November 8, 2017). Senators Introduce Assault Weapons Ban. Press release.).Many police officers killed in the line of duty are killed by assault weapons, including 1 in 5 officers killed in 2014.
Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, on the introduction of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017, a bill to ban the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines ( (November 8, 2017). Senators Introduce Assault Weapons Ban. Press release.; "Guns and Groundhog Day". The New York Times. November 13, 2017. Retrieved on September 3, 2018. ).
=== 2018 ===
A Pew poll last year found that 68 percent of Americans favor banning assault weapons, including 48 percent of gun owners.
Marc Fisher, senior editor of the The Washington Post (Fisher, Marc (February 15, 2018). "The AR-15: ‘America’s rifle’ or illegitimate killing machine?". The Washington Post. Retrieved on November 6, 2018. ).Sanders: I have a D minus voting record, from the NRA. I lost an election probably, for congress here in Vermont back in 1988, because I believe we should not be selling or distributing assault weapons in this country. I am on record and have been for a very long time in saying we have got to significantly tighten up the background checks. We have to end the absurdity of the gun show loophole. 40 percent of the guns in this country are sold without any background checks. We have to deal with the straw man provision which allows people to legally buy guns and then distribute. We’ve got to take on the NRA. And that is my view. And I am, will do everything I can to—the tragedy that we saw in Parkland is unspeakable. And all over this country, parents are scared to death of what might happen when they send their kids to school. This problem is not going to be easily solved. Nobody has a magic solution, alright, but we’ve got to do everything we can do protect the children—Todd: What does that mean? You say everything we can. Does that mean raising the age when you can purchase an AR-15? Does that mean limiting the purchase of AR-15s?Sanders: Yes! Yeah, look. Chuck, what I just told you is that for 30 years, I believe that we should not be selling assault weapons in this country. These weapons are not for hunting, they are for killing human beings. These are military weapons. I do not know why we have five million of them running around the United States of America, so of course we have to do that. Of course we have to make it harder for people to purchase weapons. We have people now who are on terrorist watch lists who can purchase a weapon. Does this make any sense to anybody. Bottom line here, Republicans are going to have to say that it’s more important to protect the children of this country than to antagonize the NRA. Are they prepared to do that, I surely hope they are.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on February 18, 2018 interviewed by Chuck Todd of NBC News on Meet the Press ("Meet the Press -February 18, 2018". Meet the Press. NBC News. February 18, 2018. Retrieved on September 1, 2018. ).Yet exactly what constitutes an "assault weapon" is a contentious issue and something that riles up some gun advocates.
Daniels, Jeff (February 21, 2018). "Definition of what’s actually an 'assault weapon' is a highly contentious issue". NBC News. CNBC. Retrieved on September 5, 2018. If the law says someone under the age of 21 is too young to purchase a handgun, then it ought to say they’re too young to purchase an assault weapon.
Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, (Nowicki, Dan (February 28, 2018). "Sen. Jeff Flake bill would hike legal age for buying assault rifles to 21". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved on September 3, 2018. ).The distinctive “look” of assault weapons is not cosmetic. It is the visual result of specific functional design decisions. Military assault weapons were designed and developed for a specific military purpose — laying down a high volume of fire over a wide killing zone, also known as “hosing down” an area. The most significant assault weapon functional design features are:(1) ability to accept a high-capacity ammunition magazine,(2) a rear pistol or thumb-hole grip, and,(3) a forward grip or barrel shroud.Taken together, these are the design features that make possible the deadly and indiscriminate “spray-firing” for which assault weapons are designed. None of them are features of true hunting or sporting guns. Civilian semiautomatic assault weapons incorporate all of the functional design features that make assault weapons so deadly. They are arguably more deadly than military versions, because most experts agree that semiautomatic fire is more accurate than automatic fire. Although the gun lobby today argues that there is no such thing as civilian assault weapons, the industry, the National Rifle Association, and gun magazines enthusiastically described these civilian versions as “assault rifles,” “assault pistols,” and “military assault” weapons to boost civilian sales throughout the 1980s. The industry and its allies only began to use the semantic argument that a “true” assault weapon is a machine gun after civilian assault weapons turned up in large numbers in the hands of drug traffickers, criminal gangs, mass murderers, and other dangerous criminals.
Understanding the Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Semiautomatic Assault Rifle. Violence Policy Center (February 2018). Retrieved on October 5, 2018.Our nation mourns once again a horrific loss of life that should be unthinkable, yet is becoming routine. Assault weapons, like the AR-15 style weapon used in yesterday’s attack, are military bred firearms designed for a specific purpose: to kill as many people as possible in as short an amount of time as available. Mass shooters utilize guns like the AR-15 because of their specific anti-personnel design characteristics. We cannot talk about effective solutions to stopping these types of attacks without addressing the tools that make them possible. Until assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines are banned, these attacks will continue to threaten our public life and define our nation.
Josh Sugarmann, Executive Director, Violence Policy Center (Sugarmann, Josh (February 15, 2018). Violence Policy Center Statement on Mass Shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Violence Policy Center. Retrieved on October 5, 2018.)Today's National Rifle Association is essentially a de facto trade association masquerading as a shooting sports foundation. So the NRA does the bulk of lobbying for the industry. You know, you hear the NRA talking about their opposition to an assault weapons ban, their opposition to raising the age for the purchase of a long gun from 18 to 21 years of age. And they try to frame it in terms of freedom and history and, you know, sort of the sacred nature of firearms.Well, the reality is that's bad for the industry to pass those laws. If you ban assault weapons, that wipes out what they rely on as a recent profit center. If you raise the age for purchase of a long gun, which includes assault rifles, then you add three more years to the timeframe before a young person can buy a gun. So it's very important to understand the political battle in terms of the interests of the industry and in terms of marketing.
Josh Sugarmann (McCammon, Sarah (March 13, 2018). "How America's Gun Industry Is Tied To The NRA". All Things Considered. NPR. Retrieved on October 18, 2018. ).In the wake of declining household gun ownership, it is no secret that the gun industry has focused on semiautomatic military-style assault weapons, most notably AR-15-type rifles, in its marketing and sales efforts. The target markets are two-fold: older males who already own firearms and can be enticed into purchasing one — or one more — of these battlefield-derived weapons; young males, who although they lack interest in the traditional shooting sports such as hunting, are intrigued by what one gun industry trade magazine calls the “tactical coolness factor.”
The Militarized Marketing of Bushmaster Assault Rifles. Violence Policy Center (April 2018). Retrieved on October 19, 2018.Results suggest assault weapons (primarily assault-type rifles) account for 2–12% of guns used in crime in general (most estimates suggest less than 7%) and 13–16% of guns used in murders of police. Assault weapons and other high-capacity semiautomatics together generally account for 22 to 36% of crime guns, with some estimates upwards of 40% for cases involving serious violence including murders of police. Assault weapons and other high-capacity semiautomatics appear to be used in a higher share of firearm mass murders (up to 57% in total), though data on this issue are very limited. Trend analyses also indicate that high-capacity semiautomatics have grown from 33 to 112% as a share of crime guns since the expiration of the federal ban—a trend that has coincided with recent growth in shootings nationwide....AW [assault weapon] laws also commonly include restrictions on large-capacity magazines (LCMs), which are typically defined as ammunition feeding devices holding more than ten rounds of ammunition (some laws have higher limits). LCM restrictions are arguably the most important components of AW laws in that they also apply to the larger class of high-capacity semiautomatic firearms without military-style features. In the broadest sense, AW-LCM laws are thus intended tor educe gunshot victimizations by limiting the stock of semiautomatic firearms with large ammunition capacities and other features conducive to criminal use....Importantly, trend analyses suggest that LCM firearms have grown substantially as a share of crime guns since the expiration of the federal ban on AWs and LCMs.
Koper, CS; Johnson, WD; Nichols, JL; Ayers, A; Mullins, N (June 2018). "Criminal Use of Assault Weapons and High-Capacity Semiautomatic Firearms: an Updated Examination of Local and National Sources.". Journal of Urban Health: bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine 95 (3): pp. 313-321. doi:10.1007/s11524-017-0205-7. PMID 28971349.
=== 2019 ===
Mass-shooting related homicides in the United States were reduced during the years of the federal assault weapons ban of 1994 to 2004....Recently, 75% of members of the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma endorsed restrictions to “civilian access to assault rifles (magazine fed, semiautomatic, i.e., AR-15),” and 76% of the Board of Governors were in favor of a limit to “… civilian access to ammunition designed for military or law enforcement use (that is, armor piercing, large magazine capacity).” In 2015, the American College of Surgeons joined seven of the largest most prestigious professional health organizations in the United States and the American Bar Association to call for “restricting the manufacture and sale of military-style assault weapons and large-capacity magazines for civilian use.” This analysis adds evidence to support these recommendations....Our results add to the documentation that mass shooting–related homicides are indeed increasing, most rapidly in the postban period, and that these incidents are frequently associated with weapons characterized as assault rifles by the language of the 1994 AWB....taken in the context of the increase in mass shootings in the United States, these results support the conclusion that the federal AWB of 1994 to 2004 was effective in reducing mass shooting–related homicides in the United States, and we believe our results support a re-institution of the 1994 federal assault weapons ban as a way to prevent and control mass shooting fatalities in the United States.
DiMaggio, C; Avraham, J; Berry, C; Bukur, M; Feldman, J; Klein, M; Shah, N; Tandon, M; et al. (January 2019). "Changes in US mass shooting deaths associated with the 1994-2004 federal assault weapons ban: Analysis of open-source data.". The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery 86 (1): pp. 11-19. doi:10.1097/TA.0000000000002060. PMID 30188421. You could have a pistol that has 30 rounds in it. As far as I'm concerned, that's an assault weapon. I don't want somebody with 30-round magazines and a pistol coming into a public place. You can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time.
Michael Siegel, professor of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health (Shabad, Rebecca (August 11, 2019). "Congress weighs gun control measures after latest mass shootings". NBC News. )
== See also ==
Federal Assault Weapons Ban
== External links ==