New gun control legislation is on the horizon, and pundits like CNN's Piers Morgan chime in against firearms that he refers to as "assault weapons" and "mass killing machines." These terms are used to demonize certain semiautomatic firearms based on how they look and not by how they function. While all firearms are inherently dangerous, these labels that are being attached to these firearms only serves to mislead and misinform the general public into supporting gun control measures, by evoking a fear and disdain of these particular guns. The fact is that these semiautomatic firearms are no more dangerous than any other.
Politicians and gun control advocates knowingly do this as well in order to garner public support for gun control legislation. Back in 1988, Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center noted on the public ignorance of firearms:
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.
In the 1994 version of the Assault Weapons Ban that passed, it clearly defined nineteen models of firearms to be banned as well as any other semiautomatic gun capable of accepting a detachable magazine and had two military characteristics. It bears repeating that the military characteristics were mostly cosmetic and made the firearm no more lethal or dangerous.
In the 2013 version of the Assault Weapons Ban that will be introduced, not only are they reducing the number of cosmetic characteristics in order for a firearm to more easily qualify as an "assault weapon," but they are also changing the characteristics that they are looking for in order for a firearm to qualify as one. If there were a clear definition of an "assault weapon", then why would they need to redefine what one actually is?
Every time you use or hear the term "assault weapon," "mass killing machine," or "military style" you should ask yourself, where did you get that term from? Why is it that these particular semiautomatic weapons evoke so much fear and disdain when they function no differently from other semiautomatic weapons?
Semiautomatic firearms have been here for over a century if not more. The negative connotation to these weapons have only come up recently for a technology that has been around for so long.
Make no mistake, there are people out there that have an agenda to disarm all Americans (e.g. California Senator Dianne Feinstein). They are battling for your opinion whether you realize it or not, and every minute of every day they knowingly push terms like the ones above to shape your opinion. Think about that the next time you refer to a semiautomatic weapon as a "mass killing machine."