The Supreme Court’s ruling in New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen granted the pro-gun rights crowd a major victory by striking down onerous laws prohibiting Americans from exercising their right to bear arms. But now, it appears the Associated Press has provided another victory – albeit a small one – to the pro-gun side of the debate over firearms in America.
In a piece for our sister site Bearing Arms, John Petrolino reported that the Associated Press has issued guidance recommending that media activists stop using the term “assault weapon” when describing certain types of guns. “Trying to accurately report or even have a normal discourse with someone on the Second Amendment is challenging due to the media misinformation campaigns that have proliferated for decades,” Petrolino writes. The use of the term has contributed to the difficulty in having honest conversations about guns.
In a tweet posted on Wednesday, the AP wrote:
The preferred term for a rifle that fires one bullet each time the trigger is pulled, and automatically reloads for a subsequent shot, is a semi-automatic rifle. An automatic rifle continuously fires rounds if the trigger is depressed and until its ammunition is exhausted.
Avoid assault rifle and assault weapon which are highly politicized terms that generally refer to AR- or AK-style rifles designed for the civilian market, but convey little meaning about the actual functions of the weapon.
The Stylebook's weapons entry offers guidance on terms including semi-automatic rifle, assault rifle, assault weapon, military-style rifle and modern sporting rifle. pic.twitter.com/RvNrZp1lu2
— APStylebook (@APStylebook) July 13, 2022
The term “assault weapon” was popularized in the 1980s by gun control activist Josh Sugarmann in a study titled “Assault Weapons and Accessories in America.” Since then, Democrats, anti-gun activists, and the activist media have used the term along with “weapons of war,” to label certain types of rifles, namely AR-15s, AK-47s, and other black, scary-looking long guns.
The anti-gunner crowd understands that the vast majority of everyday Americans who support more gun control restrictions are largely ignorant about firearms and the overall debate. Indeed, terms like “assault rifle” are designed to make it appear as if those using AR-15s are using fully automatic machine guns to carry out mass shootings. Most people don’t know the difference between semi-automatic and fully automatic, which is why you hear them conflate the two.
CNN came under fire for accidentally – or intentionally – coining the term “fully semiautomatic” in 2018. It is term that sounds frightening when you think of a mass shooter targeting a school or other soft target. But the reality is that it is a made-up term that means absolutely nothing.
But this issue highlights how the anti-gunner lobby is forced to use deception to make their case because, as with most progressive arguments, they completely fall apart when subject to scrutiny and questioning. They have to lie and deflect in order to avoid having real conversations on the matter because when faced with a knowledgeable person, they lose each time.
Of course, the Associated Press having a rare moment of honesty might not do much to persuade the activist media to be less deceitful when it comes to its reportage on gun matters. But it does provide more ammo for those making the case for gun rights. The more deception we can expose, the easier it will be to convince the public to stop supporting more gun restrictions that will do more to empower criminals than law-abiding citizens.
Now that the Supreme Court has made “may issue” states with onerous gun licensing schemes a thing of the past, the anti-gunners have been forced to find other ways to keep people from bearing arms. The fact that they are starting to lose the public opinion battle is another problem they will continue to face in the years to come. However, those supporting the Second Amendment will have to work to keep up the momentum they have seen over the past few years. Otherwise, all progressives have to do is wait us out before they start coming for guns again.