Associated Press Stylebook Discourages Use of ‘Assault Weapon’ Because It’s ‘Highly Politicized’ 

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.

“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.

SEE ALSO: Birth of the Modern Battle Rifle – The US Army Infantry Board Service Rifle Trials

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.

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Hondo August 10, 2022, 7:09 am

    What kind of limp wristed painty waist uses pronouns in their name ? People laugh at you as you are not a serious person who isn’t going to be taken seriously.

  • D.J. August 9, 2022, 9:10 am

    The use of the term should be discontinued , as it is inaccurate .

  • Willi-O August 8, 2022, 1:46 pm

    Regardless of what libtards think, words do in fact have meanings. Not slang, real language. Men are men, women are women and a recession is a recession. Same applies to assault-rifles. The modern sporting rifle (MSR) is NOT, has never been, nor will it ever be an assault-rifle. It was simply assumed by some idiot that knew nothing about firearms, that the “AR” in AR-15 stood for assault-rifle and it stuck. That does NOT make it correct. It stood for Armalite then and it still does. That ASSumption has been parroted by the extremely liberal majority of mass media talking heads and politicians, which has reinforced and furthered this incorrect nomenclature. I have no idea why, but those that actually know the least about something always seem to be the ones that talk the most and the loudest about it.

  • Willie-O August 8, 2022, 12:12 pm

    perry winkle/“it” – actual assault weapons were defined LONG before anything dot com even existed. There are no semi-auto’s that exist in the category. Period. I guess this is yet another example of the left’s business as usual – the traditional definition be damned, we’re changing it – women are men, men are women, a recession is no longer a recession…..complete and utter insanity (Webster’s. the book). I say again, liberalism is a mental disorder and it becomes more evident by the day.

  • John Boutwell August 8, 2022, 10:40 am

    Semi-auto will now mean assault rifles, a change of names to include more types
    No upside here.

  • T-Road August 5, 2022, 10:10 am

    Personally I’m not so sure that lumping all semi-auto firearms under the same definition is a step in the right direction. Yes, referring to modern sporting rifles as “assault weapons” is inaccurate, and politically driven, but is a step in the direction of broadening the definition, and thus taking away ALL semi auto firearms in one swoop the idea here ? Forgive me for not trusting the AP.

  • DEFENDER August 5, 2022, 8:25 am

    I am Confused about MY AR Platform Rifles –
    NONE of them has EVER gotten up, walked out the door and shot anyone !!

    What is wrong with My Guns !!!

  • Blue Dog (he/him) August 4, 2022, 8:56 pm

    They are right, the term is highly politicised. In celebrating this decision to change the AP style book, the author acknowledges that the term assault rifle in common modern usage describes semi-auto AR-pattern and AK-pattern rifles. The Dictionary (dot com) defines these weapons as assault rifles. Perhaps finally in the twilight of this term, we can finally acknowledge what it has always been.

    • Shanz August 6, 2022, 12:22 pm

      So on this message board you have referred to semi auto rifles as “Assault Rifles” numerous times. Would you agree that was not an accurate description and was highly politicized?

      • Jerry August 8, 2022, 7:06 am

        So, bluefella may just find another source to quote, old dogs not liking new tricks and all that, but you never know, may be creative enough to invent a useful new term

      • Blue Dog (he/him) August 8, 2022, 11:17 am

        I would say that the term assault rifle/weapon is both accurate and politically charged. And it very much overlaps with the less-common term MSR.

    • Willie-O August 8, 2022, 8:31 am

      Moldy dog turd/“it” – I will CONTINUE to acknowledge that you are a liberal and therefore have a mental defect, which should prohibit you from being able to possess firearms. I will also continue to acknowledge that modern sporting rifles (MSR’s) are NOT assault-rifles. I would like to demand that all libtards be forced to perform military service at the first instance involving combat and do so armed only with a commercially available “assault rifle”, also referred to incorrectly as a “weapon of war”. Any such conflict would result in swift, abject failure for them. Painful lesson, but one that will never be learned thru civil political discourse or debate. Also one that is desperately needed, both for them and the sane half of our society.

    • Dr Motown August 8, 2022, 9:32 am is your “source” for the definition of “assault rifle?” LOL! I thought you were a former FFL with loads of experience with firearms?🤔😅

      • Blue Dog (he/him) August 8, 2022, 11:15 am

        I have some experience with firearms. What I am not is a linguist, which is why I consult the considered opinions (although politically charged) of experts when considering the contemporary usage of phrases. I am pretty behind the times on slang – internet slang evolves so quickly and I don’t have a teenage daughter to condescend to me while explaining the new slang.

        Well, maybe I am a bit of a hobbyist in linguistics. 😉

        • Hondo August 10, 2022, 7:36 am

          You’re a bit of a kook would be more accurate.

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