July 14, 2009
Abraham Lincoln and So-called “Assualt Weapons”
As part of NSSF’s continuing efforts to correct misperceptions about civilian sporting rifles that look like military rifles, Doug Painter, NSSF senior advisor, puts the evolution of modern sporting rifles into perspective in a piece posted at OutdoorLife.com . . .
On an August afternoon in 1863, Christopher Spencer made his way to the White House with a rifle in hand.
The gun he was carrying, and which he had invented, was significantly different from traditional rifles of the time that could only be fired once before having to be reloaded. The new Spencer Repeating rifle could be loaded with seven cartridges in a tubular magazine and featured a lever under the trigger. When the lever was pushed down and then brought back up, the spent casing of the round that was fired was ejected and a new round was automatically fed into the chamber . . .
If the anti-gun movement had been active in the late 19th century, they may well have labeled such rapid-fire, high-capacity magazine rifles as the “assault weapons” of their day.
And it would have been as inaccurate then as it is today to label a civilian sporting rifle an “assault weapon.”