A police firearms instructor attempts to clarify the confusion about what is, and what is not, an “assault rifle”.
Although the officer does not expressly say so, the implication of his presentation is that a true “assault rifle” is one that is capable of operating as “fully automatic” (you pull the trigger and the bullets keep automatically firing until you release the trigger or run out of bullets). Fully automatic assault rifles can normally be used only by military and police. It is currently illegal for private citizens to own a fully-automatic weapon without a special license from the ATF.
A semi-automatic rifle is one that fires only one bullet for each pull of the trigger. The officer implies that all semi-automatic rifles (even though they may have the menacing, cosmetic appearance of a fully-automatic “assault rifle”) are not “assault rifles” because they cannot function as “fully automatic” weapons.
When you stop to think about it, the distinction between “fully automatic” and “semi-automatic” rifle mechanisms must be the essential distinction between “assault rifles” (which are largely illegal for Americans to own) and conventional, semi-automatic rifles (regardless of their cosmetic similarity to assault rifles) which are legal. In the end the difference between functions is critical and essential while the differences or similarities in appearance are trivial or irrelevant. A true assault rifle is defined by its function rather than its appearance. I doubt that anyone can point to a single rifle manufactured in the past 50 years that was sold to to the US military as an “assault rifle” that was not fully-automatic. When you say “assault rifle” you must mean “fully automatic”.
Given the simplicity of the full-auto/semi-auto distinction, it might seem strange that so many politicians and governmental officials are inclined to pass or enforce laws that treat semi-automatic rifles (that may look menacing) as if they were fully-automatic assault rifles.
The explanation is apparent: government wants to remove all weapons from the hands of the people. The objective of gun control and gun confiscation is hugely advanced whenever government can seize and remove semi-automatic rifles because they merely look like fully automatic assault rifles. Legally, they can’t do that. But so long as confusion remains as to what really is, and what is not, an “assault rifle,” the governmental powers to seize legal weapons are enhanced.
Therefore government wants the confusion between what an assault rifle (which they can legally seize) and a legal, semi-automatic rifle that may look like an assault rifle, but is not.
This video is well done and easily understood. Given that it’s presented by a police firearms instructor, this video strikes me as the kind of evidence that a person might be able to present to a jury in a case where his Second Amendment right to own (at least) a semi-automatic rifle has been violated when that rifle was seized simply because it appeared to be “assault rifle”.