It's time to stop giving every yahoo the chance to own an assault weapon. Their use has skyrocketed since the last ban expired in 2004.
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There is no question the AR-15 and its ilk are assault weapons, used in identical fashion to those weapons they are based upon in the U.S. military. A close comparison leaves no honest daylight between the two.
A thought for a renewed Assault Weapons ban: have a neutral 3rd party, like the Army Procurement Office, decide what is/isn't an assault weapon. Then ban it for civilians. There is no legitimate reason to have such a weapon, unless you are hunting humans.