What’s an Assault Rifle?

Mike Weisser
7 min readMay 28, 2022

Whenever the media gets filled up with stories and editorials about a mass shooting, one of the arguments which invariably breaks out is how we define an ‘assault rifle.’ The gun-control crowd always wants these guns to be banned or at least more tightly controlled, and the pro-gun gang claims that when it comes to these so-called ‘assault rifles,’ the Communists and Pinkos who want to deprive America of their 2nd-Amendment ‘rights,’ don’t understand what the term ‘assault rifle’ really means.

So, for example, Fox News ran a big story about how Gail Collins of The Failing New York Times completely screwed up the definition of an assault rifle in calling for a ban of those guns to which their so-called gun expert, a guy named Stephen Gutowski, was trotted out to set the record straight.

What makes Gutowski an ‘expert’ on guns? He runs a website about guns. Want to refer to yourself as an ‘expert?’ Open a website, okay?

My knowledge about assault rifles is obviously much scantier than Gutowski’s expertise. I own three or four such guns right now, having bought the very first such gun ever sold in the United States. It was a Colt Sporter which I purchased back in 1977 or 1978.

I also have sold more than several hundred ARs in gun shops that I owned in three states — South Carolina between 1978–81, New York between 1984–1991 and Massachusetts between 2001 and 2015. I sold ARs made by Remington/Bushmaster, Colt, Panther Arms, Stag Arms, Smith & Wesson, and a few made by me.

Finally, I have served as a consultant to both the group out of Parkland which tried to get an AR ban on the Florida ballot in 2020, along with the law firm which represented the plaintiffs in the suit against Remington/Bushmaster following Sandy Hook.

Enough with my credentials, okay? Let’s get back to the reason for this column, which is to give all my friends in Gun-control Nation a very clear understanding of what the words ‘assault rifle’ means and don’t mean. Or as Grandpa would say, ‘shain zeit,’ (read: enough is enough.)

Legend has it that the phrase ‘assault rifle’ was first uttered by none other than Adolf Hitler when he attended the test of a prototype gun in 1943. The gun was a short-barreled, full-auto, handheld machine gun, designed for mobile troops…