Whenever there is a mass shooting, every member of the media becomes a weapons expert. In so doing, they reveal themselves to be grossly ignorant of even basic weapon operation and identification. For the readers' convenience, allow me to speak out of some knowledge in this area as I once held the secondary Military Occupation Specialty [or MOS] of Infantry Weapon Repairman .
[My primary MOS was 0200, or Basic Intelligence Man. That didn't mean I had basic intelligence, although that may be, it meant that I worked with either the battalion or regimental intelligence team. It also means that I know your social security number.]
Anyway, I hope addressing these two most common errors helps the reader to be more informed and intelligent than most of the media when it comes to these issues.
Error #1: You will hear a weapon referenced as a "machine gun". That's incorrect. Machine guns, which fire continuously as long as the trigger is depressed, have been illegal to own in the United States since the late 1930's. The most common form of rifle in the United States is semi-automatic. It fires each time one pulls the trigger. Such a rifle cannot fire 700 rounds a minute, as I heard some British expert say earlier today, as it is impossible for the mechanism to do so.
Error #2: There is such a thing as an "assault weapon". Please look at the photo below and tell me which one is the assault weapon.
It takes one screw, called a take-down screw, and one screwdriver and in about five minutes one may change out the wooden stock for the composite one. In Connecticut, one cannot buy the bottom gun, but may buy the top one and, for some extra cash, legally purchase a conversion kit to change the top rifle into the bottom rifle. It is no more or less deadly, either way.