What makes a gun an assault rifle?

What makes a gun an assault rifle?

There seems to be some controversy about what is and what is not an assault rifle, not that it really matters what you call them.

That’s a reasonable question though, for anyone having no knowledge whatsoever in the area of firearms. Below is a factual comparison of the weapons by number, you can decide for yourself.

I’m not advocating for a ban on assault rifles, although I think that they have no place in a civilized society. Unfortunately, we do not live in a civilized society.

We need to make it harder for these weapons, whatever you want to call them, to wind up in the hands of anyone likely to use one to go on a shooting spree. I don’t see how anyone could argue with that.

Besides the rise of hate groups coincidental with the Trump presidency, the increase in violence against minorities is a consideration.

Jews are historically the focus of hate groups looking for an enemy to galvanize their members, which brings us to my friend, Zenon.

Zenon has an expensive AR15 which he keeps buried in his basement and has virtually no experience loading, reloading or shooting. Nonetheless, he feels the imperative to have the weapon based on the experience of his parents, both Holocaust survivors.

As Zenon speculates, the Holocaust might never have taken place had the Jews in Germany and across Europe been armed and prepared. Hitler obviously agreed with Zenon’s theory because he began disarming Jews in 1933.

Ronald Reagan said, Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. As we have seen though, the loss of freedom can happen in the blink of an eye. The rise of Nazis, Fascists and White supremacists seems to have blossomed overnight, although it’s been simmering under the radar for decades.

The weapon used in the July 4th massacre in Highland Park, Illinois was a Smith & Wesson M&P15. The M&P in the model name stands for Military & Police. The specifications of that weapon are third in the list below.

The first are two of the U.S. military’s most widely used assault rifles. The Colt is a shortened version of their venerable M16, introduced in Vietnam in the 1960’s.

The HK (Heckler & Koch) is similar, but uses a piston driven operating system as opposed to the more widely used gas impingement operating system, which is what ejects spent cartridges and slams the next round into the firing chamber. That makes the more expensive HK run a bit cooler and cleaner and, for my money, more reliable.

Each of these weapons shoots a bullet designated as 5.56 NATO, which is a military classification, NATO being a military organization.

Some might argue that the HK and Colt are automatic weapons, meaning that they keep shooting bullets as long as the trigger is depressed, while the S&W is semi-automatic, which means it only shoots one bullet each time the trigger is pulled. That might seem reasonable…until you think about it.

The M&P15 comes standard with a magazine that holds 30 bullets, each specifically designed to push a supersonic cone of air, which rips apart flesh and crushes bone.

I can pull the trigger of that weapon TWICE PER SECOND, which means that I can shoot all 30 of those bullets within 15-20 seconds. I have done it.

There are many ways to modify an M&P15 to shoot automatically and the conversions are cheap, readily available and easy to install.

If you think that this is a weapon that the Founding Fathers, who would have you burned as a witch for using a microwave oven, intended for people to carry into their local Starbucks, that’s another conversation, and one worth having.

First, we need to be honest with ourselves and each other. William Shakespeare said, A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

A Smith & Wesson M&P15, by ANY name is a deadly weapon that shoots bullets designed to rip apart human bodies quickly and efficiently.

To argue that it’s not an assault rifle, a weapon of war is specious and intellectually dishonest.

We could, with a nod to Shakespeare, call it a rose, but that wouldn’t bring Aiden McCarthy’s parents back, or allow Cooper Roberts to walk again, would it?

Here’s those numbers:

Model Ammo Length Barrel Length ClassificationHK 416 5.56 NATO 33.66 in 16.5 in Assault rifle (U.S. Army)Colt M4 5.56 NATO 33.66 in 14.5 in Assault rifle (U.S. Army)S&W M&P15 5.56 NATO 35 in 16 in Sporting (S&W, NRA)

It may just be me, but it seems a bit corrupt that Smith & Wesson, the manufacture of the M&P15 get to decide how to classify their own rifle, giving the NRA that tedious talking point, It’s not an assault rifle.

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Bob Abrams

Bob “RJ” Abrams is a political junkie, all-around malcontent and supporter of America’s warriors. After a career path that took him from merchandising at rock concerts to managing rock bands to a 27-year stint in the pits of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, he’s seen our nation from up and down.
As Regional Coordinator of the Warriors’ Watch Riders (a motorcycle support group for the military and their families) Bob plays an active role in our nation’s support of America’s warriors and their families.
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