What is an assault rifle?

An assault rifle is any semiautomatic rifle with a detachable magazine and any of the following features:

  • a grip, such as a pistol grip or thumbhole stock, designed to allow the operators trigger hand to be directly below the action of the rifle while firing rather than behind the firing action of the rifle as with most traditional hunting rifles;
  • any grip or shroud that can be held by the non-trigger hand while firing;
  • a flash suppressor or muzzle brake/compensator or reduce recoil;
  • a bayonet mount or grenade/flare launcher;
  • any semiautomatic pistol or rifle with a fixed ammunition magazine with a capacity of more than 10 rounds;
  • any semiautomatic rifle shorter than 30 inches;
  • a semiautomatic pistol with one of the following:
    • any secondary grip or barrel cover that can be held by the non-trigger hand while firing;
    • a folding, telescoping, or thumbhole stock;
    • the ability to accept an ammunition magazine in any other location than into the grip;
    • a threaded barrel that can accept a silencer;
    • any semiautomatic shotgun with any of the following features:
    • a pistol or thumbhole grip combined with a folding or telescoping stock;
    • a fixed ammunition magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds;
    • an ability to receive a detachable ammunition magazine;
    • a revolving cylinder magazine
    • any kit or combination of parts able to convert a firearm in any of the ways prohibited above.
The term “assault weapon” has long been used by the gun industry to sell military-style guns.