Culture

Sheriff Explains the Real Difference Between Automatics, Semi-Automatics and Assault Rifles

Learn a little more about the guns responsible for some of our worst mass shootings.

Photo Credit: Dailymotion

Automatic firearms automatically reload and fire when their triggers are depressed, while other forms of firearms require multiple trigger pulls to discharge consecutive rounds.
 
Semi-automatic firearms contain a self-loading mechanism. Unlike an automatic weapon that requires one depression of the trigger for consecutive discharges, a semi-automatic firearm requires a depression for each discharge.
 
The most popular rifle on the market today is the AR-15. The firearm gun control supporters most often call an “assault weapon," the AR-15 accounts for one-fourth of all rifles manufactured in the United States.
 
The AR-15 has existed since the 1950s, and by the 1960s derivatives of the model were being manufactured. During the Vietnam War, the U.S. Army used the M-16, an adaptation of the AR-15. By the 1980s, the AR-15 was featured in several movies and television shows, becoming a notorious symbol in pop culture. Most recently, the AR-15 was the weapon used in a number of high-profile mass shootings, including Sandy Hook and San Bernardino. 
 
Watch the demonstration below:


 

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.

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