We all hear how "Assault Rifles" are so deadly and most of America thinks there is no legitimate civilian use for them, but few know what "they" are and I think most will be surprised.
An "Assault Rifle", is any SEMI-automatic rifle that uses removable ammunition magazines and has other attributes like a pistol grip, thumb hole, flash suppressor, folding stock, or barrel shroud. Guns that fit that definition are involved in less than 2% of the homicides where a gun is used. "Assault Rifles" are not the prefered guns used by criminals.
Strangely most are not very deadly, and NONE are used by the military. The military uses FULLY-automatic guns like the M-16 and the civilian version, (the AR-15), looks a lot like it but is only SEMI-Automatic. An AR-15 is not "deadly" enough to be used for hunting deer in most states and most serious large game hunters would not consider using one. There are pistols that shoot more powerful bullets. In the North Hollywood shooting criminals fired over 2,000 bullets from fully-automatic weapons, that use assault rifle ammunition, wounded 18 police and civilians, and none died. If they had used common hunting rifles, many would have died.
So if they are not more deadly, why do so many people want to own them? Many ex-military like owning guns that look a lot like the ones they used in the military, deadly has nothing to do with it. I like Western style guns so that is what I own more of and prefer, deadly has nothing to do with it.
Do pistol grips, thumb holes, flash suppressors, folding stocks, or barrel shrouds make them more deadly, NO... Those attributes are cool looking to people who want to have guns that resemble military rifles, but none of them make the guns more deadly, and you or any criminal can put them on or remove them from any legal semi-automatic gun in a few minutes. Having the components is not illegal, only assembling them is and nothing that makes the gun deadly changes when you put them on or take them off. A folding stock could make the gun more concealable, but a take apart gun is just as small and pistols that are just as deadly are also legal and more concealable.
Lots of much more deadly rifles, including the M1 Garand, are not banned. The M1 Garand is semi-automatic, a real military gun used in WW2, that shoots bullets which are twice as powerful and loaded via clips in seconds. The most popular 22 rifles, commonly given to kids, are semi automatic 22's, which are not much good for hunting large game but can easily kill people especially at close range. There are kits that make many of the look like "Assault Rifles", but none make the guns more deadly.