“Assault Weapons” Excite The Media Once Again

The fact that a very small number of perople attending public gatherings recently have been caught on camera carrying firearms, has driven many in the mainstream media to focus on “assault weapons” being brandished at political events.  One man was caught on camera in Phoeniz, Arizona by at least one national cable outlet with an AR-15 rifle slung over his shoulder on a strap.  The media immediately — and incorrectly — highlighted this as an “assault rifle” being carried outside a building at which President Barack Obama was speaking.

While the national media may delight in highlighting such incidents, including mis-labeling semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 as “assault weapons,” there in fact is nothing illegal about a person openly carrying a firearm at many such public events in many states, including Arizona and Georgia.  If the firearms were fully automatic (as “assault rifles” by definition are), or were being carried by a person already “disabled” under federal law from possessing a firearm, or if there were local or state laws prohibiting such action, then it might warrant a passing reference in the news.  But simply carrying a firearm lawfully under federal and state law, should not be newsworthy.

For those worried about the safety of a president if someone carries a firearms outside a venue where he is speaking, they should consider that anyone openly carrying a firearm anywhere remotely near where a president is located, guarantees such a person will be closely watched by the Secret Service and local law enforcement.  Moreoever, any place at which a “protected person” such as the president is appearing, is very broadly demarcated by the Secret Service, and carrying a firearm inside such perimeter is a serious violation of federal law.

I’m not sure I understand why a person would openly tote a rifle or sidearm at a political rally of any sort, including one at which a president is speaking; other than to just make a point of some sort.  But if the media would simply let it be, and especially if they would stop labelling firearms that are not “assault weapons” as “assault weapons” simply to inflame viewers, we’d all be better off.  But somehow I doubt that will happen.

81 comments Add your comment

DDS -- NRA Life Member

August 25th, 2009
10:31 am

I personally think it was very risky to carry an AR15 to an event covered by Secret Service. One can be completely withing the law and still shot dead by your own government. Ask Vicky Weaver. One needs to be very sure the point you’re trying to make is worth losing your life to make. I shudder to think what the nation’s gun owners would be discussing today if “Chris” had been shot by law enforcement personel.

That being said, It was also risky for the people of Lexington to fall in on their village green in the face of a force of Royal Army Regulars and Marines. But they felt they needed to make a point about the rights guaranteed by their laws to free born Englishmen. I for one am darn glad they did.


August 25th, 2009
12:08 pm

To all of you who whine about military inspired semi-automatic rifles being “more powerful” than hunting rifles. While there is no doubt that many of these rifles fire a potent projectile, but in considering the definition of these “assault rifles” one should remember that most of the (especially the popular AR-15 style and AK style rifles) fire a round that is FAR LESS POWERFUL than the average hunting rifle and had less range as well. Let’s compare the 5.56×45 or 7.62×39 rifle rounds with that of the average hunting rifle which fires an 8mm Mauser cartridge or the popular .300 Win Mag. The 5.56 and 7.62 generate 1,800 and 2,000 Joules of energy, but what about those “civilian” rifle rounds that continually are ignored for the danger of the powerful assault rifle? Well the 8mm Mauser generates more than 2x the energy at 4,000 Joules and the .300 Win Mag can generate nearly 5,000 joules of energy!

Nearly all the popular hunting rounds, even the little .22-250 makes more energy than the AK’s 7.62 round by a fair margin. Stop sniveling about military inspired rifle designs, they are not more dangerous than other hunting rifles. Finally, real “assault rifles” are select fire weapons capable of fully automatic fire incorrectly labeling military inspired semi-automatic rifles in order to demonize them makes those who whine and complain about their existence look uneducated.


August 25th, 2009
2:13 pm

I wish that the people who comment here would learn the facts.”Jconservative” says the Second Amendment only applies to the Federal Government and not the States as the court said in Presser v Illinois.I bet he does not know that Presser stated that the First Amendment did not apply to the states!!Presser is no longer valid.The Amendments are now applied through the 14 Amendment to the Constitution.If the Second Amendment is a Fundamental Right the States will have to honor it.The liberal 9th Circuit court has ruled it is a Fundamental Right.The 5th and 7th Circuit Courts have said they will let the Supreme Court decide the issue.There is no doubt that the Second Amendment is a Fundamental Right as history will show.


August 25th, 2009
2:22 pm

The man had a right to carry the AR-15 rifle.I think some people posting here don’t like the fact that he was Black.End of story!!

Sam Mosin

August 25th, 2009
4:43 pm

Our constitutional government was formed only after the Bill of RIghts was approved; its very existence depends on the integrity of that document. The Bill of Rights is a guarantee that this government will defend those enumerated rights of its citizens. Therefore, if that government ceases to defend those rights, it forfeits its authority to govern.


August 25th, 2009
5:11 pm

Devon – Answers to your questions.

I have a question for those that oppose – What the hell are you insinuating? That the mere bearing of arms causes criminal acts? You know, all those damn protesters carried clubs (political signs) that could be used to bash in the heads of ss and pres or to stab them with sharpened ends! Where’s the outrage??

I would carry to meet the President (because I always carry), I happen to disagree with most of his policies, but put in a situation where I had to take out an assassin (not likely, but bear with me), I’d take them out.. If I could save the president (even this one) by taking a bullet intended for them, I would do so. Not because I agree with him or even like the man, but because I respect the office.

The constitution’s bill of rights was NOT intended for the federal level alone, why even mention “the people”.. so local gov’ts can invade your privacy?? (Roe v. Wade had something to do with that, didn’t it) or discard public trial by jury or the right to speech. About the only thing the constitution DID limit to a federal only limitation was declaration of official religion, and then only because states DID have official religions at the time. What kind of a “Right” is one that some can step on and others can’t. A Right is a Right, you have it wholly or you don’t and it requires -nothing- from another except inaction. Hence a “right to healthcare” can only mean “you can buy healthcare”, not “someone else’s money can be stolen to buy me healthcare”. 2nd amendment doesn’t allow firing willy-nilly, nor demand that the arms be purchased for you using another person’s money. You can call yourself reasonable, but any gun control at all is effectively, “you telling me what I can and cannot do”. I don’t want to do that to you, you aught not want to do that to me.

Winston Smith

August 25th, 2009
6:44 pm

So, if it’s “illegal” to carry a firearm at a political rally, all I have to do to disarm the rest of the populace is go around in groups of 2 or more carrying political signs? C’mon. What’s so special about a political rally?

It’s a slippery slope, folks. Any regulation of firearms is a slippery slope to no arms at all. I say let them carry anywhere, open or concealed.

I bet there was a political rally in the 1760s and 1770s in which the Colonists would have loved to carry to keep the red coats from breaking it up. Remember what 2A is there for, in order of importance: 1) keeping the government in check, 2) protecting one’s life, liberty, and property, and 3) hunting/sport. It’s certainly not the other way around.

Winston Smith

August 25th, 2009
6:46 pm

Assault Weapon = weapon used in an assault.

I didn’t see any weapons used in assaults, other than slander/propaganda by the media.


August 25th, 2009
6:54 pm

I live for the day when seeing someone carry a firearm openly gets no more attention than someone wearing a nice jacket or a lady carrying a purse. It should be normal and stir up Hoplophobic reactions.

There was a time once when a black people were looked at in much the same way. We seem to have made it past that limitation of mind. Maybe it’s time to get past the same limitations that surround legal firearms.


August 25th, 2009
6:56 pm

Correction: “…should NOT stir up Hoplophobic reactions.”


August 25th, 2009
7:50 pm

Just for the record, The fellow with the AR-15 was no where near the President.

The Phoenix police stated the guy was not breaking any laws, and the Secret Service said the President was never any danger.

He was just a guy standing there with his AR-15 on a sling behind his back, yawn.


August 25th, 2009
8:18 pm

On August 21st, 2009, Mike Billips wrote:
6:46 am

“It’s disingenous to claim that civilian, semi-automatic versions of military assault rifles are not a separate category of firearm than semi-automatic hunting rifles with internal, 3- to 5-round magazines. “Assault weapon” is a somewhat nebulous term that has been used to describe some pistols with large magazines, but in the case of the AR-15 or similar rifles, it’s apt. The functional distinction is the detachable, high-capacity magazine. Someone armed with a rifle that fires a relatively high-powered cartridge like the NATO 5.56mm, with 20 to 30 rounds available and rapid reload capability, is a considerably greater potential threat to life and limb than someone with a pistol. When I was in Iraq, we didn’t consider ourselves armed if we were carrying just an M9, since it won’t defeat soft body armor. A semi-auto AR-15, on the other hand, would be considered a real weapon, since trained troops rarely use full-auto fire with their personal rifles anyway.”

1. A semi-auto rifle is just that a semi-auto rifle. It is NOT an “assault weapon” or “assault rifle” and no person truly familiar with small arms would refer to it as such. An AR-15 is no more deadly than any number of sporting weapons and in fact is considerably less deadly than the average .308 or heavier deer rifle at any substantial range. Ditto for a shotgun at close range.

2. The “NATO 5.56mm” is not a “relatively high-powered cartridge” unless you are comparing it to a pistol cartridge or a .22 rimfire. It is on the decidedly low end of rifle cartridges when it comes to muzzle energy and is not even allowed for deer hunting in many jurisdictions due to being too under powered to effectively and quickly kill such a game animal. Where it is allowed there are usually ongoing efforts to have it banned because it wounds more often than it quickly kills. Either way true sportsman who want a clean humane kill will not use a .223 or 5.56 (no they aren’t the same round) to hunt deer. The military adopted it because the fact is many soldiers cannot handle the weight and recoil of a ‘real’ rifle (.308, 30/06 etc), and to be fair, with the compliment of weapons the military usually has on hand probably don’t USUALLY need the extra range and extra power it affords.

3. I wouldn’t be especially concerned if civilians did routinely carry “assault weapons”, “assault rifles” or possess true machine guns, (small arms industry definition not the BATF definition which includes anything capable of automatic fire). Governments have historically proven far more dangerous with any type of arms than civilian populations and the government already has all of the above and more. If Obama and his supporters are worried about people utilizing their second amendment rights around him he can kindly stay the hell in the oval office and save us all the cost of his jet fuel. Further if politicians are worried about law abiding citizens with guns it’s probably because they know they are doing something wrong.

4. As far as the M9 not defeating soft body armor (at close range anyway) that’s because your commanders at the Pentagon don’t provide you with the correct ammunition. They either don’t trust you with it or don’t want to pay for it. A tungsten steel pointed 9mm projectile will go through most soft body armor like an ice pick through a wet paper bag.


August 25th, 2009
8:31 pm

It’s called normalization. Today the carrying of a gun is an unusual event and the news reports it as such. If more and more folks carry openly it will become normal and no longer newsworthy. Just as the first casualties from Afghanistan were run endlessly on the news tickers at the bottom of the TV; today the news doesn’t even report the names of those lost. It’s “normal” and no longer news.


August 25th, 2009
9:35 pm

There is nothing at all wrong with a citizen excercising his rights.

Y’all opposed are endangering your own rights as well.


August 25th, 2009
10:07 pm

Steve, my thoughts exactly. The 5.56 NATO is at best a medium powered round, although fairly high velocity, to which it owes its lethality as it breaks up on impact. It is NOT by any stetch of the imagination “high powered”, a term loved my the uniformed media, as is “assault rifle”. No military in the world would assault anything with an AR-15.
All of this talk about being able to fire more rounds at a faster rate is just so much H.S. It is shot placement that always wins the day. High cap magazines are Ok when in actual combat but in civilain use they are great if you plan on missing a lot. They’re fun to shoot at the range, but only one round can do the job. The semi auto .30-06 M-1 Garand was just as deadly as the M-16 or the AK-47. Just took less ammo-a lot less.
Also, I don’t know if anyone has ever heard of the word “Democide” it is the murder of any person or people by a or their government. In the last century, the death toll was roughly 160 million people, give or take. Killed by their own or a government action. First step-disarm the populace 100% percent of the cases.
The idea that 30,000 Khmer Rouge could wipe out 2.3 million Cambodians says it all. He who has the monopoly of power (guns) wins.
Most of these governments were also leftist governments. HMMMMMMMM


August 26th, 2009
12:06 am

Our new anti capitalist-anti American president, comming terrorist attacks, illegal aliens, drug gangs, (Mexican and domestic),a tanking economy with looming hyper inflation and a few other nightmarish realities have pushed our country to the brink of catastrophie rivaling or surpassing that of the Civil War. Gun bans that compromise the ability of U.S. citizens to defend their lives and homes are certain to enable and all but guarantee episodes of carnage that will render prior American bloodshedings to mere historical footnote status.

My hope is that millions more legally qualified Americans will acquire firearms of all types,display them when appropriate,and restore the sense of normalacy to gun ownership in the Dreg States and Cities of America, that much of the rest of us enjoy. Peace,security and civility are usually a part of this picture.

Chuck Henry

August 26th, 2009
7:29 am

When several of my friends asked me if I saw the TV coverage of the young man with the AR16 and my feelings I replied, I saw a very articulate american citizen expressing his second amendment rights, color did not matter he was a american citizen nothing more nothing less! As a former US Marine and a non firearms owner when asked why I simply say, the vote is my gun, the internet, phone, fax, email are my bullets. These are often as powerfull as the 223, 358 Norma Mag, 375 H&H, 30-06, the old work horse 45ACP, and of course Dirty Harry;s 44Mag.


August 26th, 2009
1:04 pm

I saw news report saying the man was carrying a MACHINE GUN.
Ignorance about guns is quite rampant in the mainstream news media.

Chris Neumann

August 26th, 2009
3:26 pm

Here in Amarillo TX Mrs.Clinton spoke here on a campaign stop. She was speaking at the Amarillo Civic Center. While she was speaking there was a gun show going on in the North Concourse. Talking about Persons of interest and guns, especially one who is so against personal ownership of them, and a gun show, how ironic.


August 26th, 2009
6:52 pm

I wish the media would be concerned about Obamas fascist, marxist, nazi, brown shirt zars, who will no doubt try and take our freedom away.

Bill Gray

August 26th, 2009
7:24 pm

I don’t know what an “assault weapon” is and neither does anyone else. The similar sounding “assault rifle” is a full automatic capable military issue weapon. Take an ordinary semi-auto rifle and add a bayonet lug, then a flash suppressor, then a fore end grip and then some other accessories and an “assault weapon” has magically evolved at some point. The capabilities of the rifle have not changed except for the ability to carry out a drive-by bayonet attack. The label is like painting a Yugo with racing stripes and claiming that it is a dangerous high speed racing machine. Nonsense! To continue the comparison, compare a .223 round with a 30-30 or a 30-06. The .223 is a midgit not legal for hunting deer in many States due to its ralatively low power. The larger rounds are suitable for deer and elk! So much for the “high powered” label. Don’t let the anti-gunner get away with misusing the vocabulary. Take the intiiative by using “victim disarmament, mass murderer empowerment zones, instant responders (victims who resist crime) vs first responders (police with report books and crime scene tape).”

Peter Courtenay Stephens

August 26th, 2009
9:54 pm

The media not only got into a tizy over the AR 15 but, then MSNBC labeled those carrying at the Pheonix event as racists, hiding the fact with careful editing that the person carrying the AR 15 was Black. He probably was carrying to let the union goons know that he was not going to be intimidated or attacked like the Black man was in St. Louis, Mo, a week before where he was beaten to the ground by union criminals for handing out “Don’t Tread on Me ” Stickers.


August 27th, 2009
1:10 pm

Wow…A person actually exercising his rights guaranteed by the constitution is news. Is that what we have come too? Our fore-fathers are weeping.

Oops…I guess someone needs to send a news crew to my house. I just exercised my constitutional right to free speech. Video at 6 and 10.


greg in Miami Fl

August 27th, 2009
4:44 pm

read this on the NRA website but had to dispel misinformation. to MIKE BILLIPS post…
Modern m-16 rifles currently issued are not even fully automatic they are equipped with a 3 shot burst capability…I am suprised that you were in Iraq and do not know this….It is still a SELECT FIRE weapon which is the distinguishing characteristic of an “assault weapon”

I doubt you can make a comparision of a us legal ak-cosmetic looka alike and the akm variants found all over iraq. an ak without a fully automatic feature is NOT the same by any measure..the ak family is a machine gun first then a rifle. it is not accurate to less than 4-6 moa usually.

the ar-15 was actually in existence BEFORE the m-16 version; as a CIVILIAN varminter. the m-16 came along after and the full auto feature was added(no it is not easy to convert it requires a class 3 sear fitting) it was adopted by the kenedy /mcnamara admin during vietnam with not so great results. the ar-15 is a rifle first. it is fairly accurate and can be improved…it actually could be used as a hunting rifle usually on groundhogs/prarie dogs…varmints. The .223/5.56 round it fires is not adequate or in some case not legal for deer sized game. so your high power claim is also dispelled.

mis information must be discredited and put aside otherwise the freedoms enjoyed by generations of AMERICANS will be slowly eroded by a divide and conquer approach. dependency is the goal; they seek to make you LESS self reliant and therby sheep like..well be a SHEEPDOG not a SHEEPLE Mike.

greg in Miami Fl

August 27th, 2009
4:49 pm

so many good comments here…you all have much more intelligent anc civil posts here than the Miami boards…boy they can get nasty. always liked Atlanta my brother and sister went to Emory.

fang 1944 buddy

August 28th, 2009
8:59 am


fang 1944 buddy

August 28th, 2009
9:02 am

you cant let anybody take what is yours especially the government even if they do run this country! but rules are rules and you must be a good dog and obey

fang 1944 buddy

August 28th, 2009
9:03 am

why let the media stop you from following the rules. you are just being a good dog of the government


August 28th, 2009
9:17 am

I bet you dude wouldn’t be near dubbya with an AR anything – he would have been toast – care of secret service ….


August 29th, 2009
12:35 pm

To those of you who mistakenly consider an AR-15 an ‘Assault Weapon’ here is the definition of an assault weapon taken from multiple sources –

The translation assault rifle gradually became the common term for similar firearms sharing the same technical definition as the StG 44. In a strict definition, a firearm must have at least the following characteristics to be considered an assault rifle:

It must be an individual weapon with provision to fire from the shoulder (i.e. a buttstock);
It must be capable of selective fire;
It must have an intermediate-power cartridge: more power than a pistol but less than a standard rifle or battle rifle;
Its ammunition must be supplied from a detachable box magazine.
Rifles that meet most of these criteria, but not all, are technically not assault rifles despite frequently being considered as such. For example, semi-automatic-only rifles that share designs with assault rifles such as the AR-15 (which the M-16 rifle is based on) are not assault rifles, as they are not capable of switching to automatic fire and thus not selective fire. Belt-fed weapons (such as the M249 SAW) or rifles with fixed magazines are likewise not assault rifles because they do not have detachable box magazines.

The term “assault rifle” is often more loosely used for commercial or political reasons to include other types of arms, particularly arms that fall under a strict definition of the battle rifle, or semi-automatic variant of military rifles such as AR-15s

The US Army defines assault rifles as “short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachinegun and rifle cartridges.”

Also as anyone who has done any research into the automatic weapons laws should know it has been illegal for citizens to own since the Supreme Court ruling in Miller vs. the United States (1939) and to modify a semi-automatic weapon into a fully automatic weapon is a federal crime.

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