The AP Tells Media Outlets to Stop Referring To All Guns As Assault Weapons

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Pistol, handgun, revolver stock photo Photo 24157420 © Petr Pokorny |

The AP Tells Media Outlets to Stop Referring To All Guns As Assault Weapons

Harold Hutchison on July 14, 2022

UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect a comment from National Rifle Association spokesman Lars Dalseide.

The Associated Press informed media outlets to avoid using the term “assault weapons” in a Wednesday tweet from its AP Stylebook account.

“The preferred term for a rifle that fires one bullet each time the trigger is pulled, and automatically reloads for a subsequent shot, is a semi-automatic rifle,” the AP said in a graphic included in the Twitter post. “An automatic rifle continuously fires rounds if the trigger is depressed and until its ammunition is exhausted.”

“Avoid assault rifle and assault weapon, which are highly politicized terms that generally refer to AR- or AK-style rifles designed for the civilian market, but convey little meaning about the actual functions of the weapon,” the graphic said.

President Joe Biden has repeatedly called for banning so-called “assault weapons” in the wake of mass shootings in Uvalde, TX, Buffalo, NY, Highland Park, Chicago, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“What has incorrectly been termed an ‘assault weapon’ is a semi-automatic firearm that fires just one bullet with each pull of the trigger (versus a fully automatic firearm — machine gun — which continues to shoot until the trigger is released),” the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) said in a fact sheet.

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NSSF celebrated the tweet from the AP Stylebook when contacted by the Daily Caller News Foundation for comment.

“It has taken decades for media, including the Associated Press, to reject the lie put forth by Josh Sugarmann of the Coalition to Ban Handguns to purposefully mislead the public,” spokesman Mark Oliva told the DCNF. “He coined the term ‘assault weapon’ to confuse the public that the rifles owned by civilians are the same as the military’s service rifle. In fact, they are different. Opponents of these rifles have seized upon cosmetic features that have no bearing on the operation as a means to malign them.”

“Every news outlet should use precise terms when covering issues. Perhaps what is more telling is the head of Bloomberg’s gun control organization urging the Associated Press to stop using the term” gun control,” Lars Dalseide, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association, told the DCNF. “These radical gun control groups have long tried to mask their true intent with slick poll-tested monikers like “gun safety”…in a slip-up, or true moment of candor, they reveal their true intent.”

“There are over 20 million of these rifles in circulation today, used for all lawful purposes, including recreational target shooting, hunting and self-defense,” Oliva said.

The National Rifle Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.

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