As a relatively new resident of North Carolina, I was very uneducated in the gun culture in this state. Everyone seems to have a gun and go shooting periodically. I am working to correct my ignorance and learn about guns and gun safety, but it is going to take me a while to catch up. Meanwhile, I have gotten some help from a friend on Twitter.
Here are some excerpts from a post of Twitter about assault rifles:
Sometimes the AR-15 is incorrectly called an ‘assault rifle.’ Prior to 1989, the term “assault weapon” did not exist in the lexicon of firearms. It is a political term, developed by anti-gun publicists to expand the category of “assault rifles.”
The M4A1 carbine is a U.S. military service rifle. It is also an assault rifle. It is fully automatic–it fires multiple rounds. It is also sometimes called a machine gun. In 1986, the Federal government banned the sale or transfer of new machine guns to civilians.
The AR-15 is semi-automatic (like most guns sold in America). That means that when you pull the trigger, one round is fired.
According to a 1988 report by the Violence Policy Center, an anti-gun lobby: “Handgun restriction is simply not viewed as a priority. Assault weapons … are a new topic. The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.”
The article goes on to explain that since machine guns were already banned, so the anti-gun lobby began a campaign to convince the public that the semi-automatic guns were machine guns. This was relatively easy to do because of public ignorance and because of the military look of some of these guns.
The article further explains:
[N]o one should have any illusions about what was accomplished [by the ban]. Assault weapons play a part in only a small percentage of crime. The provision is mainly symbolic; its virtue will be if it turns out to be, as hoped, a stepping stone to broader gun control.
The end game of some of those in power is to take the Second Amendment rights away from Americans. After the Orlando shooting, there will be more cries for gun control. Where are the cries for better investigations of people making inflammatory statements about murdering people in the name of Islam? The problem in Orlando was not the gun.