This time, I will go ahead and be forthright about the two firearms I want you to consider.
This is a Springfield Armory M1A SOCOM II that I purchased a number of years ago. You will have to forgive the lacking quality of the photo – it turns out I sold it before I took any good pictures of it.
And this is an AR-15 that I half-built, half-bought. Again, you will have to forgive the truly derp-tastic stock that is on it presently – it did not last long, and it has a much better stock presently, I am just bad about taking pictures apparently.
Now here is the important part:
Both firearms are semi-automatic, magazine-fed rifles; i.e. both will shoot as fast as you can pull the trigger, and both can accept magazines up to 100 rounds (though I cannot imagine carrying the M1A at that point). However, the M1A shoots a larger, heavier bullet that has, on average, double the muzzle energy of the bullet shot by the AR-15 and somewhere around double the maximum range.
So here is this post’s test: one of these firearms is currently banned by the California Assault Weapon Control Act, and one of them is not. Which is banned?
If you answered “the more powerful rifle”, you would be wrong.
That M1A was, ironically, purchased in California – I even still have a picture of the receipt – after I discovered that coming by AR-15s there would be… challenging. At that point, I figured I might as well go with the more-powerful, more-capable rifle, simply to drive home the point that the state’s “assault weapon ban” was precisely useless.
As the previous post indicated, the entire notion of “assault weapon bans” is flawed to begin with since it literally prohibits one configuration of a rifle, but allows another configuration of the exact same rifle. Once you realize that those bans allow firearms that work in almost the same way* but are significantly more powerful than their banned brethren?
Well, then it becomes painfully apparent that the purpose of the bans is not “safety”.
(* – Both firearms are gas-operated; the AR-15 uses direct impingement while the M1A uses a short-stroke piston system. Both are still semi-automatic, but the two operating systems are just different ways of employing the gasses from the discharging round to cycle the actions.)