Gun control advocates have been drawing fire from conservatives lately for their allegedly misleading use of the term "assault weapon." They're supposedly using the term as propaganda to help ensure that guns that appear vaguely "military-like" are banned or more heavily regulated.
But does blame for the confusion surrounding just what does or does not deserve the "assault weapons" tag belong with gun fans themselves?The Daily Kos reports on the little-known introduction of the moniker "assault weapon" by gun marketers in decades past to help sell firearms that weren't particularly popular with gun owners at the time. "The term was first adopted by the manufacturers, wholesalers, importers and dealers in the American firearms industry to stimulate sales of firearms that did not have an appearance that was familiar," according to gun expert Philip Peterson. "The manufacturers and gun writers of the day needed a catchy name to identify this new type of gun," which included both semiautomatic and fully automatic weapons. Daily Kos contributor "Meteor Blades" eagerly puts this news in perspective:
Got that? The Brady Campaign and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence didn't apply the term 'assault' to grab guns, the industry applied it to sell them. Good enough for the marketers, good enough for the gun-control advocates, one would think.