CNN Just Invents The Definition Of An Assault Rifle


Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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CNN invented their own definition of an assault rifle to include handguns and shotguns on Tuesday’s CNN Newsroom.

CNN correspondent Tom Foreman explained that an assault rifle has semi-automatic firing, referring to firearms designed to release one bullet per trigger pull, whereas an automatic rifle releases several cartridges at once. He then said assault weapons have detachable and possibly high-capacity magazines and a pistol grip.

“Many weapons are semi-automatic, not just assault rifles. Often, they have detachable and possibly large-capacity magazines that clip on there so you have a lot of bullets,” Foreman said. “[And] a pistol grip or something else for better control, so it doesn’t, sort of, walk away from you from the power of the shooting of it. All of this comes together in a package that, frankly, looks more like a military thing than most people would expect.”

Despite CNN’s definition, semi-automatic rifles, including commercial versions of AR-15’s, are not generally classified as assault weapons. The U.S. Army defines an assault rifle as “short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachinegun and rifle cartridges,” according to the National Rifle Association (NRA).

The gun industry typically defines the weapons as having “select fire capabilities” or the ability to switch between semi-automatic and automatic, according to CNBC. (RELATED: Biden Repeats False Claim That Cannons Were Not Legally Purchased During America’s Founding) 

Almost all guns in the U.S., including handguns, shotguns, pistols and rifles are semi-automatic. These guns can also have pistol grips and carry higher capacity magazines, according to Slate. The 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act defined “large capacity” magazines as capable of holding more that 10 rounds of ammunition, according to the Giffords Law Center.

A pistol grip is defined as the “handle of a handgun or protrusion on the buttstock or fore-end of a shoulder-operated gun that resembles the grip or handle of a handgun,” according to the NRA.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) claims the AR-15 style rifle is not an assault weapon because they are semi-automatic.

“AR-15-style rifles are NOT ‘assault weapons’ or ‘assault rifles,'” the NSSF website states. “An assault rifle is fully automatic, a machine gun. Automatic firearms have been severely restricted from civilian ownership since 1934.”

Foreman pointed to the increase of mass shootings in recent years, including the 2017 Las Vegas concert shooting killing 58 and the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre that killed 26 people. (RELATED: ‘You’ve Got To Give That Gun Up’: Whoopi Goldberg Said NRA Needs To Suck It Up, Calls For Ban On AR-15)

“This is one of the reasons that assault weapons continue to be targeted because opponents of this say, ‘Look, we think this is low hanging fruit. We don’t see the practical use for these, and we do see the attraction of these for mass killers.'” Foreman said. “Whereas gun enthusiasts say, ‘We see the attraction of this and most people are using them legally. Don’t go after this, try to do something else.’ But this is why this keeps coming up because where it shows up and what it does.”

The issue of passing new gun legislation has come to the table among lawmakers following the Robb Elementary School shooting that killed 19 children and two fourth-grade teachers. Republican Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger told CNN Sunday that he is “open” to an assault weapons ban after previously opposing any policy barring citizens from owning those types of weapons.

Nicole Silverio

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