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Assault Weapon Weirdness

By Guy Smith, Founder of the Gun Facts project (www.GunFacts.info)

Propaganda and Political Expedience

Well-crafted propaganda has amazing longevity, outliving even government programs, which are seemingly immortal.

The creation, nurturing and old age of the “assault weapon” campaign sits high in the sky parlor of propaganda, rivaling many religions in terms of blind faith and overwhelming fear. Twelve years past the sunset of the federal assault weapons ban, the gun control industry has yet to relent that their mission was fraudulent, their goals insincere and their outcomes failed.

As the founder and chief researcher at the Gun Facts project, I am self-inflicted by gun control industry agitprop. A recent communication by one of their hordes was stunning in its composition, claiming that the common AR-15 was a “powerful weapon of war.” This is an unsubtle reminder that theirs is a long con and one that remains in play.

Josh Wasn’t Joshing

The origins of the assault on your weapons is as sinister as it was well-constructed. In the same year that Florida began the stampede toward near-universal concealed carry in the United States, a lone but well-financed propaganda master was popularizing the notion of “assault weapons.” Josh Sugarmann, the only visible working component of the Violence Policy Center (VPC), continued his crusade on private gun ownership by planting seeds of deception. Sensing that gun-owning herds could be culled, he set his sights on firearms that were simply scary to the uninitiated. At the VPC website, Sugarmann wrote:

“Assault weapons... are a new topic. The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons–anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun–can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons” (emphasis clearly mine).

Politicians in search of a cause (which is their main stock-in-trade) latched onto the “assault weapon” theme for the simple reason that some firearms look frightening, and fear is the primordial tool in politics. In 1968, every voter had watched the Vietnam war nightly during dinner. They saw M-16s carried by American soldiers, AK-47s carried by Viet...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V21N4 (May 2017)
and was posted online on March 17, 2017

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