The Truth About “Assault Weapons”

In the United States today Americans lawfully own an estimated 20-30 million rifles which are commonly used and often misconstrued by the media, politicians, and gun control advocates as “assault rifles.”

Here are some facts about these rifles.  Thanks to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) for some of the facts below: (note that the NSSF has labeled these rifles “Modern Sporting Rifles” (MSR).

Also note: there is an estimated 100 Million lawfully owned rifles of all types in the United States.

  • AR-15 and other MSR style rifles are no more powerful than other hunting rifles of the same caliber and in most cases are chambered in calibers less powerful than common big-game hunting cartridges like the 30-06 Springfield and .300 Win. Mag.
  • AR-15 and other MSR style rifles are NOT “assault weapons” or “assault rifles.” An assault rifle is fully automatic and more commonly referred to as a machine gun. Machine guns have been severely restricted from civilian ownership since 1934, obtaining a permit to own one is an arduous, time intensive and expensive process.
  • There are many civilian variants of MSR’s that resemble the famous AK-47.  Just as the AR-15 is semi-auto only, these AK type MSR’s are also semi-automatic, they are not fully automatic machine guns and are no more powerful than any other common rifle.
  • The AR in “AR-15″ rifle stands for ArmaLite rifle, after the company that developed it in the 1950s. “AR” does NOT stand for “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle.”
  • MSR style rifles look like military rifles, such as the M-16 and AK-47 but function like any other semi-automatic civilian sporting firearms, firing only one round with each pull of the trigger.
  • Versions of modern sporting rifles are legal to own in all 50 states, provided the purchaser passes the mandatory FBI background check required for all retail firearm purchasers.
  • These rifles’ accuracy, reliability, ruggedness and versatility serve target shooters and hunters well. They are true all-weather firearms and are very fun to shoot.
  • These rifles are used for many different types of hunting, from varmint to big game. And they’re used for target shooting in the national matches.
  • AR-15-platform rifles are among the most popular firearms being sold.  Lawful gun owners in the U.S. own an estimated 5-10 million of them.
  • Depending on the definition there are an estimated 20-30 million lawfully owned Modern Sporting Rifles in the U.S.  These include AK’s, HK’s, SKS’s, and all other types of modern sporting rifles.  

Who owns these rifles?  Here are some more facts, once again from the NSSF.

  • Nearly half (44 percent) of MSR owners are current or former military or law enforcement members.
  • 30 percent of all MSR owners purchased their first rifle in 2009 or 2010.
  • 99 percent of all MSR owners owned some type of firearm prior to their first MSR purchase.
  • The typical MSR owner is 35-plus years old, married and has some college education.

Now let’s take a look at some crime numbers.[...]

  • Bob Honiker

    Most of the gun haters are truly and incurably phobic, “truth” is of no interest to them.

  • IMSweetOlBob

    OH ! But these ASSAULT GUN thingies look mean and cruel and they scare me because they are all black. No, that is not a racist comment. I mean, they dont have that nice shiny, highly finished wood thingy at the back that looks like Danish Modern or Norwegian Wood furniture. That is sooo reassuring. The awful black thingys look cold and murderous. I think we should make them all in pink and blue so they won’t scare me.
    Can I come out from under the bed now ?

    • jerry sweet

      your right on.but they should hear one go off to see just how cowardly they really are.we have a God given responsibility to defend ours and our families from idiots.all gun ban people listen up.your the idiots i refer to

    • Greg Sellinger

      So get them one in pink and tell them it supports Breast Cancer Research. Then if they object they are against supporting womens health issues.

  • jerry sweet

    come and take them.but you better bring gloves,because the barrels will be smoking we are being led around by the nose by a bunch of half baked mentalists.these people are all hybrid brainless talk about chronic brain disfigurement these humaniod idiots run the country

  • Ms MoomMist

    Just had a beer warehouse attempted robbery on Saturday here, but the cashier had a gun and shot the robber… too bad the robber died yes dead and the police said… Self-defense.

  • skepttico

    You are what you look like, not what you act like should be the anti-gun slogan.

  • Penataras

    we listened…and the next time your children are brain shot in school, because some whimpy teenage boy had bought a “harmless” gun – don’t come whining

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