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Assault weapons: The legal battle over them continues.  What are they?
Judge Roger Benitez wrote that the weapons covered by the California ban were not “extraordinary weapons lying at the outer limits of Second Amendment protection,” writing that “(l) prohibited” assault weapons ” are not bazookas, howitzers or machine guns ”.

“These weapons are dangerous and only useful for military purposes,” he continued. “Instead, the firearms considered to be ‘assault weapons’ are fairly ordinary, popular and modern rifles.”

Most of the legislative solutions being negotiated in Washington today focus on background checks. The federal assault weapon ban expired in 2004 – but, along with California, several states have enacted assault weapon bans, albeit with varying lists and definitions of what types of weapons to use. fire and what types of firearms are considered assault weapons.

The term has no technical definition and is used by some to refer to all types of firearms, including rifles, shotguns, and pistols. There is no specific caliber size, rate at which the weapon fires, or other technical measure used to classify a firearm as an assault weapon.

The gun control advocacy group Giffords generally defines assault weapons as guns built for war and designed to “kill humans quickly and effectively.”

In 1994, Congress passed a 10-year ban on 18 specific models of firearms as well as semi-automatic rifles and pistols (only one bullet is fired when the trigger is pulled) with removable magazines that also had two or more accessories from a designated list. . Accessories – different for pistols, rifles, and shotguns – included items like folding stocks, some grips, and bayonet mounts.
Seven states and the District of Columbia have enacted assault weapon bans – with different definitions of what firearms qualify as assault weapons. While some of these laws target specific gun models, other states only ban guns that include certain features and attachments.

Assault rifles, automatic and semi-automatic firearms

The definition of “assault rifle” is also disputed. Gun advocacy groups emphasize the US Army’s definition of the assault rifle, which includes the ability of the rifle to fire both automatically and semi-automatically, a category in which the vast majority of rifles in the States -Unis does not belong.

Firearms that can fire automatically – meaning they will fire continuously after just one pull of the trigger – are heavily regulated in the United States, and the manufacture of new automatic weapons for civilians has been banned since 1986.

These fully automatic firearms, which are all over 30 years old, can cost tens of thousands of dollars. As of 2018, there were 638,260 registered machine guns in circulation in the United States, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. To purchase one of these guns, a form and $ 200 tax must be submitted to the ATF with the buyer’s name, photo and fingerprints as well as a completed questionnaire.
The ATF will then review the form to determine if the purchase is legal and “will not approve the form if the transfer, receipt or possession of the firearm would place the assignee in violation of any federal, state or law. local”. It is only when the ATF approves the transfer – checking national and local laws that govern fully automatic weapons – that the weapon can be purchased.

The vast majority of rifles in the United States are semi-automatic. However, many gun control advocates argue that guns designed after weapons for military use also fall under the category of “assault rifles”.

The AR-15 is often referred to as the prime example of such a weapon. The pistol was developed for military use by Armalite – which means the A in “AR” – and is an extremely popular type of rifle among Americans in part due to its ability to be modified with different grips, stocks and barrels. . The rifle, however, is not a fully automatic weapon and can only fire a single bullet per pulling the trigger.

Guns and Deaths

When it comes to gun violence in the United States, the problem is not primarily with the use of guns, military style or otherwise, but rather handguns.

In the United States, handguns are used much more often in murder than rifles. From 2013 to 2017, 32,260 people were killed in the United States with handguns and 1,582 were killed with rifles, according to FBI data.
Semi-automatic rifles have been used with devastating effectiveness in numerous mass shootings in the United States, including four of the five deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history: the Las Vegas shooting in 2017, where 58 people were killed; the shooting at an Orlando nightclub in 2016, in which 49 people were killed; the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, in which 27 people were killed; and the 2017 Sutherland Springs shooting in Texas, where 26 people were killed.
The gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety estimates that 81% of mass shootings “involved the use of at least one handgun, and 60% involved only handguns.” between 2009 and 2020.


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