In the current climate, the actual meanings don't matter. I was very much around when JFK was killed and the Carcano was described as a deadly, long range military sniiper rifle. There were several proposals to ban "military style" rifles, copies of the evil Nazi Mauser; that meant, of course, all bolt action rifles.
If the antis succeed in banning "assault rifles", they are not going to quit. Some are so full of hatred for all guns and gun owners that they won't stop short of a Holocaust for all "gun freaks". Others love the fame and the money that espousing gun control brings them. Either way, they won't quit.