Paul Muschick: Pittsburgh gun control plan raises question: Are AR-15s assault weapons?

Paul Muschick: Pittsburgh gun control plan raises question: Are AR-15s assault weapons?

My column suggesting a ban on assault weapons in Pennsylvania drew heavy criticism from gun owners who questioned my manhood, as well as the definition of an assault weapon. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) The reaction to my recent column supporting Pittsburgh’s proposed ban on assault weapons, and calling for a similar ban statewide, was predictable. There was a passionate and often vile backlash from gun owners who cited the Constitution’s Second Amendment and argued it forbids government from interfering with their right to own firearms. Don’t I know anything about the Constitution, I was asked? How dare I suggest such a thing! I was called a traitor, a parasitic person, a sicko submissive pillow biter — what does that even mean? — a shoddy hack, a fool, a Marxist, a leftist reporter, a libtard, a dumb $%& liberal and so on. Now, not all of the critics were so foul and nasty. Some argued just as passionately, but politely, for their position. I respect that. A few people agreed with the column. One woman wrote in an email, “I honestly don’t understand why anyone would be against banning assault weapons.” I suspect more people think that way, too. Critics of a point of view on any topic, whether it’s guns, tax hikes or taxpayers bailing out General Motors , are more likely to speak out than supporters. Much of the criticism focused on my use of the term “assault weapon” and that I wrote an “AR-15 assault rifle” […]

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