Fox News host Tucker Carlson wasn't just outraged that New York police tried to enforce assault weapons laws he doesn't like, he announced that there is no such thing as an assault weapon to begin with.
Last week, an Albion, New York gun shop was discovered to be unintentionally selling AR-15s that violated the state's assault weapons ban. As co-owner Joseph Palumbo explained it on Fox & Friends this weekend, the police wanted the names and contact information of about 170 customers who had purchased what Palumbo had thought were legally modified AR-15s. Host Carlson was firmly on the side of gun owners and not so firmly on the side of anyone who might possibly get shot.
When told by Palumbo that New York has "a pretty strict assault weapon ban," Carson replied:
"We should be clear for our viewers, assault weapon is a made up term and there really is no such thing as an assault weapon."
David, at Crooks and Liars notes:
In fact, assault weapon is a legal term that has been used in the now-expired 1994 federal ban, and the bans in California and New York. Laws usually define an assault weapon as military-style semiautomatic rifles that are designed to kill humans efficiently. To meet the legal definition, the weapons usually must one or more key features: detachable magazines, forward hand grips, pistol grips, folding stocks or muzzle brakes.
However, conservatives often argue that assault weapon is a meaningless term because it is not precise.
Watch the discussion from the September 6 Fox & Friends.
If Carlson wishes to have a discussion about the history and usage of the term “assault weapon”, that’s fine – but it’s a separate discussion that can happen at another time. It is not a valid statement to try to insist that there is no such term. There in fact is such a term, as it has been referred to in Congress, and as it has been dealt with and enforced in laws around this country. But again, this is irrelevant to the actual matter under discussion.
Also, isn’t any term for anything “made up” at some point?
How sad to know that the military M16 and AK47 weapons are still banned, though! It is heartening to see them for sale all over the internet, and detailed instructions available FREE to convert them for AUTO-BURST and FULL-AUTO fire.
The term was coined by gun control advocate Josh Sugarmann circa 1986 to confuse people. Assault rifles—selective-fire, intermediate caliber military rifles like the M16 and AK47—had be outlawed from import and manufacture for private ownership by the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA).
Sugarmann created the phrase “assault weapon” to conflate these now banned military weapons with self-loading firearms that merely had similar cosmetic features.
Eight years after the phrase was coined it became a political term when it was used in the 1994 Crime Bill.
Love him or hate him, Carlson was accurate in describing the term’s origin as “made up.”