There seems to be a lot of argumentation over what an assault weapon is. In 1994 the law used a technical definition, characterizing specific features of the guns. But not to get lost in the weeds, the key idea was that the legislation should cover guns with the capacity to spray fire, guns designed to enable rapid-fire release of many bullets.
What words are left? If we as a nation are willing to allow mass causality gun crimes to go unanswered with legislation that could make a meaningful difference in the lives of our people, what words are left to share with those killed at the social services center in San Bernardino, CA today? Do we share with them the same words of comfort and promises of action that were promised to the children massacred at Sandy Hook or the young college students murdered in Roseburg, Ore. earlier this fall? That fact that people are still able to purchase weapons of war, some of which were appropriately banned under the now-expired Assault Weapons Ban, is a moral failure on the part of our nation.
Researchers who focus on policy issues traditionally look for majority opinion as a guide to what may or may not be possibly changed in the public domain. But the fact that slightly less than half of all gun owners support the ban on assault rifles is a finding which needs to be considered on its own terms.