The “assault weapons” ban contained in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s (D) SAFE Act has finally proven a point gun rights advocates have been trying to make for decades–that the moniker “assault weapons” is just a cosmetically-based description applied to an entire class of firearms that gun control proponents want to demonize.
NBC 4 New York notes that, despite the ban, “some critics say one part of the law – the assault rifle ban – is not effective because new models being made to comply with the law are almost entirely the same as those that were banned.”
Following the ban, manufacturers simply removed the cosmetic features that gun control advocates demonize most: “bayonet mounts, flash suppressors and telescoping stocks.” Additionally, “rifles cannot have a pistol grip.” Manufacturers then started legally selling the reconfigured AR-15s to New Yorkers.
And the guns without the flash suppressors and other features still fire 5.56 or .223 ammunition at the same velocity via the same semi-automatic mechanism they always had. This is because an AR-15 (or similar gun dubbed an “assault weapon”) is, at its base, just a semi-automatic rifle that the left has labeled as something more for decades.
National Review‘s Charles C. W. Cooke put it this way:
For the last damn time, “assault weapon” is a purely invented term, designed by politicians to mislead the public into thinking consumers can buy machine guns at Wal-Mart. They can’t. In the political world at least, “assault weapon” means nothing more than “semi-automatic rifle that has a few cosmetic features that we do not like.”