23rd December 2012
The correct answer is “Maybe,” or, more specifically, “Maybe, but probably not.” The specific model of the Bushmaster rifle has not been publicly disclosed, and without knowing that we cannot tell whether it is an assault weapon as defined in the defunct federal law. (The phrase “assault weapon” has no meaning apart from the federal law; it was invented by politicians for political reasons.) We can guess that it probably isn’t, since Connecticut already bans the sale of “assault weapons,” and there is no indication that Nancy Lanza bought or owned her guns illegally.
They can’t call it an ‘assault rifle’ because ‘assault rifles’ are fully-automatic weapons, not semi-automatic such as the ones they want to ban. (The term ‘assault rifle’ was coined by Hitler because he thought it sounded scary — which it does, but adding ‘assault’ to ‘rifle’ has no more objective significance than adding ‘king’ to ‘size’.) It’s just another tendentious propaganda term, like ‘price gouging’ or ‘black market’, used by activists to cause anxiety in the intellectually challenged.