Part of the problem with an “assault weapon” ban is illustrated by these photos.
The first gun is a hunting/target rifle – a good, respectable gun, right? (Unless you hate all guns equally.) The second gun is a bad assault weapon.
The problem is, the two rifles are the same gun – the Ruger 10/22 – accessorized differently. Their mechanics are identical; they could have rolled off the same assembly line next to each other.
The second gun was turned into an “assault weapon” with after-market accessories. It can’t kill any more people, any faster, than the “good” rifle – which can hold a magazine of equal size.
Both rifles, by the way, shoot the old, low-power .22 bullet many of us grew up plinking at pop cans with. Their killing power, or lack thereof, is the same. To my knowledge, no one has used a Ruger 10/22, with or without military accessories, in a mass shooting.
Members of Congress had so much difficulty defining “assault weapons” the first time around that they basically threw up their hands and banned a few specific models and accessories. The ban didn’t address the heart of the gun – the chamber, action, trigger and barrel.
Good luck this time around. The inherently muddled wrangling over “assault weapons” threatens to suck all the oxygen out of the push for more important measures, like universal background checks.