The answer is NO! Civilian “assault rifles” are SEMI-AUTOMATIC rifles that use detachable magazines and LOOK LIKE military guns. In some cases they look identical to the military guns but lack the one essential military requirement, they are not machine guns and all the military ones are. They are common hunting or target rifles that have one or more of the following things added to them: A pistol grip, a thumb hole, or folding stock, a flash suppressor, or a barrel shroud. If you think about it rationally, none of the things that make common hunting rifle an “assault rifle”, also makes them more deadly. If they weren’t deadly enough before they were added they won’t be after they are added.
Changing the stock makes it look military, but the parts that shoot remain the same. Flash suppressors don’t silence the gun and actually make the gun a little bigger, and all a barrel shroud does is help stop you from burning your hand if you fired hundreds of shots in a very short time and the barrel headed up. A towel and a few rubber bands would do the same thing. Now let’s look at the bullets they use.
The two most common assault rifles we hear about are the AR-15 and AK-47. The AR uses a small bullet, the .223, and the AK also uses small 7.62×39mm bullets. The .223 has 1,281 foot lbs of energy, the 7.62×39mm has 1,500. By comparison the old WW2 rifles used 30-06 bullets which have 2,872 ft lbs of energy. In many places it would be legal to hunt deer with an AR because the bullet is too small.
Both guns also usually shoot military style ammunition, although hunting ammunition can be purchased at a much higher price. Military ammunition is much less deadly in order to comply with international regulations, and be “more humane”, it stops but does not kill people and animals much more frequently than hunting ammunition, whose sole purpose is to kill quickly. That is why many of the people shot with “assault rifles” survive. The North Hollywood Bank Robbery is a classic example.
Two bank robbers in North Hollywood Calif, fired over 2,000 military style bullets, hitting and wounding 18 people, including 12 police officers, none died. They weren’t using civilian guns, they used fully automatic military weapons. Of course the police fired back about 600 times, but the robbers were wearing bullet resistant clothing, and even thought the police had AR-15s, they had trouble penetrating the robbers clothing. One robber was hit 29 times and eventually bled to death from a thigh wound. The other was shot 11 times, and eventually committed suicide. If the police had shot them once in the chest with a hunting rifle like a 30-06, the bullet would have gone through the vest and killed them.
Looking back at all the shootings where “assault rifles” were used we can’t say that any of them would have turned out different if the guns they used didn’t have a pistol grip, a thumb hole, or folding stock, a flash suppressor, or a barrel shroud. None of those features made it possible for the thugs that used them to kill more people than they would have if they had left those features at home.
Putting big tires on a car does the same thing, it makes the car LOOK fast, but it’s “all show”. Adding things that make a civilian gun look like a military one, makes it look “BAD” but in truth doesn’t make it any more deadly.