On the topic of assault rifles, someone is telling me that there are fully automatic assault rifles available to the general public (The AR-15 to be precise).
This is two questions, I'll answer them separately, the second one first.
1. The AR-15 is NOT a fully automatic assault rifle. It is a SEMI-automatic rifle. That is, it fires a single round each time the trigger is pulled. It is available to anyone who lives in a state that allows ownership of such rifles and who is otherwise eligible under federal laws to own a firearm.
2. Fully automatic assault rifles (machine guns) are available to those who live in states that allow ownership of fully automatic firearms, who pass the background check, who pay the applicable tax, and who are able to fulfill the other federal and state requirements to own a fully automatic firearm.
The entire process generally takes months to complete and the available supply of fully automatic firearms that can be owned by citizens has been fixed since 1986. No new machineguns can be entered into the registry, so people who want to own a machinegun must find someone who is selling an existing transferrable machinegun. Transferrable machineguns are typically very expensive. A transferrable M16 (the fully automatic version of the AR-15), for example, could easily cost $20,000 or more.
It is my understanding that the only assault rifles allowed to American civilians are semi-automatic only.
So could any of you experts weigh in on this?
Those who live in states that prohibit full-auto ownership, who aren't willing to jump through all the hoops to legally posess a fully automatic firearm and/or who aren't willing to pay the premium for a transferrable machinegun are limited to semi-automatic firearms.