Ask the average person what an assault rifle is and you’ll get a lot of interesting answers. Is it a tactical weapon designed for military use? A hunting rifle with special attachments to make it more deadly? Does it have to be a specific caliber or made by a certain manufacturer to qualify? In all honesty, the actual definition of “assault rifle” doesn’t have anything to do with its intended use, caliber, bullet velocity, manufacture, or size…but has everything to do with fear and ignorance.
One of the manipulation tactics often employed by politicians to influence the masses is the control of language. Instead of “Anti-Privacy Act” you get “Patriot Act” because it sounds better…you’re patriotic, aren’t you? The same goes for “Affordable Healthcare Act” and “Terrorist.” The emotional connotation attached to the wording does more to sway public opinion than the actual meaning behind it. They’re banking on you NOT knowing the facts, so you’ll buy whatever they’re selling.
So what are politicians selling when they call a gun an “assault” rifle?