Last week, a gun blogger going by "Eric at the Gunmart Blog" writing at ammoland.com broke with the gun industry trade association National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) over its recently made-up terminology, "modern sporting rifles."
Many of the rifles Eric discusses are modified civilian versions of military rifles, and some were classified as assault weapons under the Federal Assault Weapons ban in place from 1994-2004. But NSSF would rather the public thinks about hunters stalking game than soldiers on the battlefield. Eric isn't down with the branding effort:
Words are powerful, and choosing to use certain words instead of others (i.e assault rifle) can have a powerful influence on public opinion. But come on... lets be real... "Modern Sporting Rifle" has not been an effective choice of words.
I honestly don't know what we should choose, but I think the time has come to move on to something different. Heck, perhaps we should just embrace the term "assault rifle" and normalize its usage so that there is not a stigma attached to it anymore.
This week, NSSF launched a web assault defending its rebranding effort, comically asking, "The Term 'Assault Rifle' as Dangerous as Weapon Itself?" If you're only worried about gun sales, then the answer is probably yes.
At the well-read The Truth About Guns, they weren't buying the NSSF attack, going beyond Eric at Gunmart's critique, calling NSSF's terminology "a failed attempt at O[r]wellian language modification":
Still, when Eric at Gunmart Blog wrote an essay entitled I Dont like the Term "Modern Sporting Rifle," the NSSF felt obliged to defend their failed attempt at O[r]wellian language modification and accuse our pal of sedition . . .
We're guessing NSSF wishes it could send the whole episode down the memory hole.