In reporting that Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) has come out in support of an assault weapons ban despite courting the NRA and gun owners during his campaign, CBS claimed: “Warner endorsed President Barack Obama’s support for restricting rapid-fire rifles.”
The description “rapid-fire” seems to be purposeful as it is wrong. And it also seems to be the most menacing description CBS could think of now that Americans have learned the shooter didn’t use automatic weapons.
Guns with a semi-automatic firing mechanism — guns like those on the AR-15 platform — fire one bullet each time the trigger is pulled. That’s it. You can’t hold the trigger down and spray out hundreds of bullets in bursts like you can with true machine guns or military-issue weapons.
Because the gun does fire one bullet every time you pull the trigger, it’s true that you can fire bullets as quickly as you can pull the trigger, but that’s also true of double-action snub-nose revolvers, service revolvers, .22 revolvers, as well as popular hunting rifles and shotguns, to name but a few.
This is hardly the image you get when CBS uses the phrase “rapid fire rifles.”
Photo credit: Lions Gate Entertainment