Don’t You Mean Semi-Automatic?

I’ve heard the term “automatic” used to describe semi-automatic pistols, but this one Pennsylvania dealer seems to have the nomenclature a bit off:

“Sales have been booming since then,” she said. “People were scared the government would re-establish the ban on automatic weapons. Our sales went up 30 percent. People are buying automatic guns, revolvers and handguns. We also sell collectible guns.”

I hold out the possibility that the dealer said semi-automatic, and the reporter heard automatic.  Either way, I wish the ban on automatic weapons had to be re-established, because it would imply that it lapsed, but sadly it’s been in full effect since 1986.

8 thoughts on “Don’t You Mean Semi-Automatic?”

  1. What was the reasoning behind the 86 GCA? What is the lethality difference between an actual automatic machine gun built December 31st, 1985 and one built the day after?

  2. Nothing, you can own both if you do the NFA dance. But that’s because the effective date of the Hughes Amendment was May 19, 1986 :)

  3. I was under the impression that ‘automatic’ was shorthand for ‘auto loading pistol.’

  4. Because the grabbers think incrementally. Today ban new ones, tomorrow get the rest.

  5. You know, it’s funny.. I’m in the middle of reading John M Browning’s biography (written by his eldest son and a ghost writer, my copy published 1961) and they describe his first auto-loading shotguns as ‘automatic’ shotguns, and then machine guns were described as ‘fully automatic’. This from people who know their way around a firearm.

    Terminology use can be a highly localized scene. Context is everything.

  6. I’d like to see the ‘context’ behind the automatic revolver he referred to.

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