Reporting indicates the GOP baseball shooter used an SKS rifle to commit Wednesday’s attack, and media outlets are already incorrectly labeling the gun an “assault rifle.”
ABC News wrote, “Sources told ABC News that the primary weapon used in shooting was an SKS 7.62 assault-style rifle.”
Similarly, The Chicago Tribune wrote, “In Belleville, Hodgkinson had purchased at least three guns…Among those three guns was an SKS assault rifle, the source said.”
But the SKS is not an assault rifle.
According to an official US Army handbook, assault rifles are defined as “short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachinegun and rifle cartridges.”
Additionally, “Assault rifles have mild recoil characteristics and, because of this, are capable of delivering effective full-automatic fire at ranges up to 300 meters.”
An assault rifle is capable of firing in fully-automatic mode or burst, which is a rapid succession of a few rounds.
The SKS is a semi-automatic rifle; it is not capable of burst firing or fully-automatic mode. That means the gun can only fire one round per trigger pull as opposed to firing continuously when the trigger is held down.
Twitter users have called out ABC for the mistake, but they have yet to edit their headline or story.