One Take on the Etymology of the Term “Assault Weapon”

I like this video for two reasons: one, it contains some great perspective on something that causes frequent bouts of confusion and deliberately obtuse misidentification (what one might call lying or bull$hit). Two, the narrator sounds like one of my friends on the Michigan State Police EST, which entertains me to no end, especially after a couple of adult beverages.

On a more serious note, this is a great video to show people that genuinely understand what an “assault weapon” really is. Play it for people that still think an AR15 is a machine-gun.

From the narrator: “While I firmly believe that Assault is a behavior and NOT a description of an inanimate item, there is a proper use for it in military nomenclature and it isn’t what the gun grabbers want people to believe. I was there, even debating Josh Suggarmann on it a LONG time ago, and this video can help clear up the lies and misconceptions before our guns and rights are used as pawns again for some perverted agenda. I hope you enjoy it.”

Note: if you know a cogent and articulate counter-argument to this video, let us know and we will consider it for publication.

To be clear ahead of time: this is an op-ed, and a long one. If nothing else, watch the first 3 or 4 minutes, I think you’ll like it.

Big Shooterist can be found at

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17 Comments on "One Take on the Etymology of the Term “Assault Weapon”"

  1. Interesting video with some sound logic, but also a small amount of sophistry. For example, comparing the improvements in technology in the media to the improvements in technology in weaponry and also bringing in the ballistic comparisons when the wider concerns are about rates of fire of any high powered weapon. In the latter regard, I noted that the compere did not demonstrate just how fast you can squeeze off a full magazine from a semi-auto AR-type weapon. Perhaps that might not have supported his argument as well as a few well-aimed shots squeezed off in a considered manner.

    All that said, it is a good video to show to people who do not understand the difference between a fully automatic weapon and a semi-automatic weapon and are likely to be exposed to the information and disinformation disseminated by the various interested parties to this debate.

    David, you posted an invitation to show videos showing the counter-argument. What do you think such a video might look like? While I could take issue with a couple of minor points in this video, I thought that on the whole it was factually correct, balanced and without the usual hyperbole that one might expect. I wonder what a cogent and articulate counter-argument would look like. (A touch of irony for those who don't see it on the first pass).

  2. Yes, semi-auto weapons have been around for a long time as the presenter in the video pointed out but grandpa did not go out shooting with his Henry Rifle using a 30 round mag. While I'm pro 2nd Amendment, I'm continually amazed at all the yahoo's who are out there with their guns and with no idea about gun safety. As a nation we require everyone who wants to drive a car pass a knowledge/safety exam, are guns any less dangerous then a vehicle?

  3. Good video. It shows the difference between full auto and semi auto rifle. I wish there were more videos like this educating the public. When there is a picture of an AR 15 (like Colorado shooting) is shown, the general public assumes it's a "machine gun evil assault weapon" and that every one can get one at your local gun store for $100. The video is right….the media don't talk ballistics…I would rather get show from a .223 than a .30 06 from Remington Bolt Action. Also when the Media talk about military weapons, they always tend to focus on AK47 or AR15. Media don't focus on M1 Garand or M1 Carbine because they look like your hunting rifle. Finally good example of the Rugar Mini 14/30 series. I got mine as Ranch style with wood stock. Looks like a regular hunting rifle especially you put a scope on it. But the minute you put a stock (Arch Angel stock) and make it into "black rifle", I am sure someone is going to stay is an Assault Weapon. The point that Mini 14/30 is still has the same rifle function (semi auto).

  4. Driving is a privilege, firearm ownership is a right.

  5. very good logic on the matter. very good!

  6. I think Carl's point was that none of us would want to see U.S. citizens driving vehicles on our public roads without taking some kind of test to show that they know how to drive, and understand the rules of the road. This in his mind also applies to firearms. The analogy goes further, as most of my friends would avoid drinking and driving but have no problem with a few beers while out hunting in the woods.

  7. I think "guest" actually did make a point.
    Guess what, people can't legally take guns out and shoot them on public roads, they have them in their PRIVATE homes. If you want to conceal carry your firearm in a public place it does in fact, require special permitting (CCL) in most states. His comparison to a vehicle license is valid. If I want to have a firearm in my private home only I should not have to have a license. If you want to carry concealed, apply for the permit.
    Yes, I know some people are open carrying, but I believe they do nothing to protect my RTKBA. Most only polarize the anti-gunners.
    To own a gun (just like a car) should not require a license. To carry a gun in public (like driving on public roads) should and does.


  8. As a Brit and never having fired a firearm, I dont have any experience with US firearm availability, from a UK perspective I do rember some years ago that while air rifles and compound bows were fien and legal, there was a period of banning black toy plastic guns, simply because of the appearance and possible use in crimes to intimidate victims, guns had to be bright neon colours or have bright red bits stuck on the end. I could imagine that some potential gun crime victims might see a robber wielding a wooden stock granpa rifle and think, hmm, my granpa had one the them, but if the assailant had anAR15 or a weapon that appeared to look like the media/video game fully auto rifles, then they would be more compliant to be robbed etc. So its just cosmetics that are being banned, like the banning of pitbulls when there are far more violent dogs around.

  9. To quote Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, a rifle is a tool. The fellow in the video clip is wordsmithing, just like the lawmakers he derides. I've watched dashcam video of the last moments of police officers shot with all of the weapons noted in the clip as well as the comments here. I also know of a President shot with a bolt action rifle. A desire to kill, married to a weapon at hand, can always be a deadly combination. The AR I carry at work is there for one reason – in a serious gunfight it is a superior tool to my sidearm because of its reach, accuracy and the lethal nature of the ammunition. It was designed to be stable when multiple shots are fired rapidly. In short, it was created for human combat. Does that make it an "assault rifle?" I have no frickin' clue, and could care even less. Advocates for gun ownership and gun control play the same game, and evade the same point. How do we prevent a rifle like mine from falling into the hands of a homicidal misfit while preserving an American's constitutional right to keep and bear arms? The all or nothing positions are counterproductive. This video talks the talk, but won't even contemplate walking the walk toward rational gun ownership laws.

  10. The strategy is 'divide and conquer'. Back in the late '80s, Sugarman and his ilk noted that military style 'assault' weapons (terms popularized by shooters, BTW) weren't very popular, so they were the first 'class' of firearms targeted for eventual bans. Other types have been targeted since, such as .50BMG 'sniper' rifles which were originally built by ultra-long-range target shooters. Shotguns (spraying buckshot) and bolt-action scope-sighted hunting rifles (deadly sniper rifles) were on the list, as well as the various types of handguns (note how the New York Times tried to demonize the .45 *low-capacity* pistol used by the Empire State Building shooter as possibly too powerful for civilian use)

  11. More interesting commentary Pete. Perhaps we need to stop describing the utilitarian AR and AKstyle firearms in 'aggressive' terms and start calling the whole genre something like – 'Military Homage -honoring those who have served, those who currently serve, and those who will serve the cause of peace in the future.' I like it – because it is both respectful and honest while leveraging the kind of values respected by the majority.

    We now need the major players in the firearms manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing sectors to take it up as a campaign ahead of anything done by the anti-gun lobby. Perhaps they might start thinking strategically for a change, instead of being focused purely on the money they make from 'tactical' thinking.

  12. I had this exact thought as well. Also in the news was the fact that in a NY city park a couple of days ago two co-workers scuffled with one dying of a stab wound. Just by coincidence Mayor Bloomberg had been at that park that day. I am STILL waiting for Bloomberg to appear on TV demanding that knife lengths be regulated and limited to 2" blade length for public safety.
    He needs to be honest for a change and admit that because of these financial times he had to make cuts to the police force hence there is more crime. Demanding new gun laws will take the focus off this fact for a short time but people will continue to commit crimes with weapons of convenience be it a knife, rock, gun, or stick.

  13. Laws are only affective if they are followed. Many laws are written in response to a recent event or events by politicians looking to promote their career.
    I live in New Jersey and purchased 1 box of 50 rounds of 9mm recently at Dick's Sporting Goods. This was the process:
    1. Go to counter in the gun/ammunition department.
    2. Ask for 1 box of 9mm.
    3. Show federal firearm id card.
    4. I am handed a giant plastic 'anti-theft' case, containing said 9mm ammo.
    5. I walk to the front with ammo to pay.
    6. Cashier asks for ID. I show ID as cashier processes the transaction. Entering in God knows how much of my information from the card.
    7. I leave the store.
    What was the point?

  14. It's even easier here in Arizona, and in Texas, where I was last stationed. Just walk into Cabela's, walk down 2 aisles stacked with ammo, pick out what you want, and carry it to the front counter. Show valid identification, stating you are the proper age, and voila!, off to the range!

  15. I do not believe that any person should own an assault rifle. WhatI do believe is that every family should have at least one crew served, tripod mounted, belt fed weapon

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