Heading into a brand new year, it’s time for Second Amendment activists to take a lesson from the Associated Press, which earlier this year announced an almost earth-shaking change in its Stylebook, advising journalists to avoid using “highly politicized terms” in their reporting.
Specifically, the advisory recommended steering away from the terms “assault rifle” and “assault weapons” in their reports. While the lesson hasn’t seemed to have taken hold with the establishment press, it should not prevent the gun rights community from making its point to eliminate these and other terms from the national vocabulary.
According to an AP Style Tip posted months ago, “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. An automatic rifle continuously fires rounds if the trigger is depressed and until its ammunition is exhausted.
“Avoid assault rifle and assault weapon,” the AP adds, “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 announcement was so stunning as to be greeted warmly by the Second Amendment Foundation.
“It’s about time the media realized the terms ‘assault rifle’ and ‘assault weapon’ are inflammatory and meaningless,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Those terms have become part of the gun prohibition lobby’s lexicon, and unfortunately, journalists across the country have been all-too-willing to adopt their vocabulary and repeatedly use it in their reports.
“I’m glad to see the AP Stylebook now recognizes that these firearms only fire one round each time a trigger is pulled,” he continued, “and really function no differently than any other semi-auto rifle, pistol or shotgun, all of which have been in common use in this country for more than a century.”
As noted by Gottlieb at the time, “The gun prohibition lobby has always used ‘assault rifle’ or ‘assault weapon’ to confuse and frighten the public and make people think it’s a fully automatic ‘weapon of war.’ Now we’ll have to see how intellectually honest journalists will be in adopting this correct terminology, rather than continuing to use these deliberately misleading references.
“This laudable effort by the Associated Press may help restore the level of trust the public should have in the media,” he observed. “It will be interesting to see if the media now challenges politicians and anti-gun lobbyists whenever they use such terms, especially since ‘AR’ never referred to ‘assault rifle’ but to Armalite Rifle, and the gun control crowd has always known it.”
What are some other terms that should go the way of the 8-track tape deck?
“Gun Violence.” – Here’s a phrase as offensive to gun owners as it is misleading to the general public. It was cooked up by anti-gunners to shift blame from criminals to the tool in their hand, but only when a firearm is involved. The term is designed to demonize firearms, and unfortunately it was quickly adopted by the establishment media, which never refers to stabbings as “knife violence” or fatal beatings as “blunt instrument violence” (or “hammer,” “crowbar,” or “golf club” violence).
“Gun Reform.” – What is that, actually? It’s camo-speak for “gun control,” and it is aimed at convincing the public that current gun control laws need to be changed, and made stricter, usually as a substitute for not doing anything to punish criminals by making sentences harsher for repeat offenders. It is synonymous with “Gun Safety Legislation,” which is also a deceptive term to disguise restrictive gun control legislation. The authors of such measures typically know very little about guns or safety.
“Assault-style rifle.” —Yet another creation by anti-gunners, with perhaps some newsroom assistance as a way to further demonize modern semiautomatic rifles. It is particularly aimed at the AR-15 and its various clones. Translation: It looks like the kind of gun anti-gunners hope to ban.
“High-Capacity Magazine.” – This simply refers to standard, or original, capacity magazines which hold more than ten cartridges and are supplied by the factory. It applies not only to 10-plus magazines for the AR-15, but also to pistol magazines capable of holding more than ten cartridges. Most full-size semi-auto pistols in 9mm, most full-size semi-auto pistols in 9mm, .357 SIG and .40 S&W can hold more than ten rounds. There are even some 10mm and .45-caliber pistols that hold more cartridges. Simply put, the firearms are designed to operate with these magazines.
“Progressive.” – A term dreamed up by liberals to inflate their own image as advocates of progress. If higher crime rates, soft-on-criminal policies, legalized drugs, high taxes, inflation, gun bans, defund police efforts and other far-left agenda items are “progress,” some observers suggest we may be better off moving back into log cabins, mud and straw huts, or even caves.