Trend Watch

Assault Rifle

When:

Lookups spiked on December 18, 2012.

Why:

After the devastating events in Newtown, CT, the national conversation included many references to the kind of weapon used in this and other recent shootings, and to the federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.

An assault rifle, also called an assault weapon, is defined as "any of various automatic or semiautomatic rifles with large capacity magazines designed for military use." It is a translation of Sturmgewehr, the name of a German rifle used in World War II.

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