So, What Exactly Was Forbidden Under The Assault Weapons Ban?

With all of the talk about the assault weapons ban in Washington, and with the NRA and its allies refusing to engage in any meaningful debate, fate has all but decided that the assault weapons ban will be passed. The far-right, who refuse to enter into the debate, are screaming about 2nd amendment rights, claiming that those rights supersede the right to life itself. However, what, exactly, are they fearing being taken away?

Let us study for a moment the now expired Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, to get an idea of what weapons would be prohibited. For a reminder, the AWB banned assault weapons, which it defined as:

Semi-automatic rifles of caliber larger than .22, able to accept detachable magazines and two or more of the following:

  • Folding or telescoping stock
  • Pistol grip
  • Bayonet mount
  • Flash suppressor, or threaded barrel designed to accommodate one
  • Grenade launcher (more precisely, a muzzle device that enables launching or firing rifle grenades, though this applies only to muzzle mounted grenade launchers and not those mounted externally).

Semi-automatic pistols with detachable magazines and two or more of the following:

  • Magazine that attaches outside the pistol grip
  • Threaded barrel to attach barrel extender, flash suppressor, handgrip, or suppressor
  • Barrel shroud that can be used as a hand-hold
  • Unloaded weight of 50 oz (1.4 kg) or more
  • A semi-automatic version of a fully automatic firearm.

Semi-automatic shotguns with two or more of the following:

  • Folding or telescoping stock
  • Pistol grip
  • Fixed capacity of more than 5 rounds
  • Detachable magazine.

With much of the debate being on the AR-15, we shall focus on this model of weapon. Save, there is no single form of the AR-15, with numerous variants available from several manufacturers. This means that some AR-15’s will comply, while others will not. So, let us compare several:

First, the classic AR-15, demilitarized version of the M-16:
AR_15_Assault_RifleThis particular one is featuring a grenade launcher, for effect. Clearly, this is not a weapon for going squirrel hunting. It is designed to do one job and one job well, to kill as many people as possible in as short amount of time as possible. It would be prohibited under the Assault Weapons Ban.

However, there are versions of the AR-15 which are permitted. These feature less ability to expand, use magazines which are integrated into the chassis, or other features which would make them deadlier. Here are a few examples:

California Rifle U-15:
As you can see, no pistol grip, no threaded barrel to take a silencer, no grenade launcher or bayonet. However, some people will demand the pistol grip, which reduces the accuracy and control of the weapon in aimed circumstances, such as hunting, but will increase a weapons ease of handling, ideal in a heavy firefight against multiple innocent victims terrorist insurgents.

But, if you want a pistol grip, there is an option, smaller ammunition, such as this one from Spikes Tactical:
Shrinking the caliber of the bullet from .223 to .22, this weapon also comes in as safe. The difference in size of bullet is negligible, although the stopping power of the .22 LR is significantly less. Compare the two rounds:
The .22 LR has significantly less punch than the .223. However, for target practice, or home defense, the .22 LR is more than capable of handling itself. While the .223 and similar rounds used in military-style weapons can travel far beyond the intended target, which is a dangerous thing to have in a home defense, or target practice situation.

Now, many consider weapons as a sign of masculinity. Like Tim Allen, the holding of high firepower is above all else considered the sign of having a “man card.” So, with this in mind, we turn to this version of the AR-15:
This gem of a rifle was custom-made by Armory Airbrush as a present for one lucky California woman. Fully legal under the old AWB. It even was legal under the extended clip concerns, as its custom clip holds only 10 rounds.

No matter what the final form of the revised AWB takes, the lack of GOP input beyond a simple stomping of the foot and saying “NO” means that it will shape in a way that they will not like. But, even if all AR-15 based weapons are banned, there is at least one form which people will be able to enjoy, one which is truly going to get men’s blood up, handing them their man-card:

Nathaniel Downes is the son of a former state representative of New Hampshire, now living in Seattle Washington.

Feel free to follow Nathaniel Downes on Facebook.