Associated Press Stylebook Discourages Use of ‘Assault Weapon’ Because It’s ‘Highly Politicized’  By: S.H. Blannelberry


In a move that might restore just a little faith in the mainstream media, the Associated Press announced last month that it would discourage journalists from using terms like “assault weapon” and “assault rifle” in their reporting.

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“The preferred term for a rifle that fires one bullet each time the trigger is pulled, and automatically reloads for a  subsequent shot, is a semi-automatic rifle,” the AP wrote in a July 2022 Style Tip pulled from its AP Stylebook. 

“An automatic rifle continuously fires rounds if the trigger is depressed and until its ammunition is exhausted,” it continues.  

The AP Stylebook, which journalists use in newsrooms across the country for clarity and precision in their writing, argues that “assault rifle” and “assault weapon” are “highly politicized terms that generally refer to AR- or AK-style rifles designed for the civilian market, but convey little meaning about the actual functions of the weapon.” 

To be a little more accurate, “assault rifle” is a term that traces its origins to WWII-era German firearms and now refers to certain select-fire weapons.  

However, the term “assault weapon” is a contrived derivative of “assault rifle” exploited by anti-gun politicians and activists to demonize a class of semiautomatic rifles, shotguns, and pistols currently available to the law-abiding public in a majority of states.

As with other bastardized terms like, “Saturday Night Special,” “Ghost Guns,” “High-Capacity Magazines,” “Cop-Killer Bullets,” etc., the goal is to portray firearms, ammunition, and accessories in a negative light so that the general public is more inclined to support sweeping prohibitions of these products.  

In fact, last week, the House of Representatives narrowly approved H.R. 1808, the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2022,” by a 217-213 vote.  

The bill is designed to dry up the supply of so-called “assault weapons” over time, including the more than 24 million AR- and AK-pattern rifles in circulation around the country.   

“For years, the Democrats told us ‘We’re not coming for your guns.’ Oh yes, they are. Let us be clear, the Second Amendment is as clear as possible and that’s their beef,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Jordon (R-Ohio) on the House Floor before the vote.  

“The Second Amendment says that the right to keep and bear arms ‘shall not be infringed’ but they don’t care,” he added.  

Clearly words matter.  Kudos to the Associated Press for pushing back against those that seek to subvert the language to forward a political agenda.