Legal Definition of an Assault Weapon?

Legal Definition of an Assault Weapon?

This is a discussion on Legal Definition of an Assault Weapon? within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; What,exactly,did the assault weapons ban cover?If this is put back into force after the new Pres. is in office,what will be banned?...

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Thread: Legal Definition of an Assault Weapon?

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array mr.stuart's Avatar
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    Legal Definition of an Assault Weapon?

    What,exactly,did the assault weapons ban cover?If this is put back into force after the new Pres. is in office,what will be banned?


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    I don't know if this is accurate, but the Wikipedia entry for the AWB has a definition section.

    The relevant section seems to be:

    Title XI, subtitle A, the Federal Assault Weapons Ban or Semiautomatic Assault Weapons Ban, barred the manufacture of 19 specific semi-automatic firearm deemed assault weapons as well as any semi-automatic rifle that is capable of accepting a detachable magazine, and which has two or more of the following features: A telescoping stock (folding stock), a pistol grip, a flash suppressor, a grenade launcher, and a bayonet lug.
    The full text of the bill is here. It is a straight text file, so it is a little difficult to read. Search on "SEC. 110102".
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

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    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    legally, the term has no nation-wide meaning, because the law that defined it is no longer in effect.

    It did refer to any rifle fitting the description kazzaerexys posted, but that doesn't mean that it can't be re-defined in future bills to be more expansive. For example, HR1022 defined the term to include semi-auto firearms with ANY of the features above, plus a couple more if I remember right. So, there's no telling what will or won't be considered an "assault weapon" in the future.

    From the technical side, there's no such thing as an "assault weapon". There are assault rifles, which are defined as small shoulder-fired rifles capable of select-fire (switching from full-auto to semi-auto), firing a cartridge of intermediate power, meaning more powerful than a pistol cartridge but less so than a full-power rifle cartridge such as a 7.62x51 or 30-06. The name came about to describe a new class of guns designed to be powerful enough to engage long-range targets but compact and light enough to be effective at close range.

    Lately, people have used "assault rifle" to mean any militarily derived rifle, even if the select-fire version would not have been considered one (the FAL and M14, for example, which use full power cartridges and are therefore battle rifles). It has also been bastardized into "assault pistol", meaning any one-handed firearm besides a standard magazine-in-grip style pistol or revolver, and the umbrella term "assault weapon", which now includes essentially any semi-automatic firearm, at the whim of whoever is describing it.

    That probably wasn't the answer you were after, but unfortunately, it's the truth. It's a catchy phrase that gets applied to "scary-looking" firearms with no real definition behind it (and god-willing, it won't get a legal defnition again).
    "A well-educated electorate, being necessary to the continuance of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed."
    Is this hard to understand? Then why does it get unintelligible to some people when 5 little words are changed?

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Distinguished Member Array mr.stuart's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for the info.

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