20 December 2012

Assault on Redundancy

Many firearms fans are angry about the term “assault weapon” because they feel it has no technical definition. Of course, the 1994 federal ban on assault weapons offered a precise definition, singling out particular brands and all other guns with enough of certain traits more suitable for military attack than hunting. Laws define terms and categories all the time.

Imagine if that law had simply banned private ownership of semiautomatic weapons. Despite being based on a technically precise category, it would have made firearms fans even angrier. (And some are plenty angry to begin with.)

I dislike the term “assault weapon” for another reason: it’s redundant. Anything sold as a weapon is, by definition, designed for assault.

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