George Urmston: A Machine Gun Is an ‘Assault Rifle,’ an AR-15 Is Not

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

I just read an article on “assault rifles.” Though written by a firearm professional and fairly accurate, the article still missed the mark on a few items.

First off, an AR-15 is not an “Assault Rifle,” as it is not capable of firing in either burst or automatic modes. The AR in AR-15 stands for “Armalite Rifle”. Armalite was the first company to manufacture Eugene Stoner’s rifle design in the late 1950’s.

Another inaccuracy in the article was the suggestion that civilians cannot own machine guns. This is simply false.

Machine guns can be obtained for civilian ownership, however they come at a price of around $15,000 to $100,000 (or more). There is no required permit or license to own a machine gun, but the purchaser is required to submit an ATF form 5320.4 and submit to an extensive FBI background check which usually takes 12-18 months. Upon approval the citizen is issued what is called a federal “Tax Stamp,” and they must keep a copy of that stamp with the rifle at all times.

After receiving the stamp the purchaser is then required to fill out an ATF form 4473 and submit to yet another background check. Then they can take possession of the firearm.

In addition to the extensive paperwork and background checks involved in acquiring a machine gun, it must be noted that only machine guns manufactured before 1986 are legal for purchase. This shrinks the supply of machine guns available for ownership, which in turn drives up cost amid high demand.

A machine gun is an “assault rifle,” an AR-15 is not.

George Urmston is the president of Battle Tested Equipment and a guest columnist for “Down Range with AWR Hawkins”


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.