Words have meaning. At least they usually do. Amidst the furor over "assault weapons" I present to you two rifles. One is an assault rifle (by the popular definition) and one isn't. Can you tell the difference?
If you said the second was the "assault rifle" you chose correctly. The difference? The first has the flash suppressor removed. Full disclosure, technically they are both "assault rifles" because the threads are still on the barrel, allowing me to put the flash suppressor back on, but if I were to take a file to the threads, the rifle would, apparently, no longer be evil.
That's it. They are both magazine fed, semi-automatic rifles. They both fire the same .30 caliber round. The thirty caliber rifle round has been around since the eighteen hundreds, the semi-automatic rifle likewise, the magazine fed rifle has been around and readily available since the 1920s. The AR-15, a popular version of magazine fed, semi-automatic rifle has been around since the early 1970s. So why the furor?
Well, for one they became popular. It stands to reason that if a rifle is the most popular rifle, that rifle will also be used on occasion for evil acts. Two, they look scary. Seriously. Look at that bottom picture and compare it to the top. The top probably reminds you of hunting with your dad and your uncles in the winter; hot chocolate and cold wind nipping at your nose. The bottom terrifies you. Just kidding, of course. They are the same rifle.
Those opposed to the ownership of guns are engaged in a decade long battle to ban guns. Start with guns that the people will accept as banned "military style assault rifle" and then move on from there. Inexpensive handguns (Saturday night special) because they are dangerous, expensive handguns (because who needs a Desert Eagle for home defense), "high capacity" meaning the number of rounds the gun came with from the factory. Each restriction makes it more reasonable for the next to be passed. "After all, we don't allow people to have ... so why would we allow them to have ...". Don't be fooled, the ultimate goal of many of these groups is a ban on civilian ownership.
Meanwhile Antifa physically attacks conservatives who venture out to express their political opinions. The left commits violence against us while attempting to disarm us. What could possibly go wrong?