Once again, I will have some pictures for you to consider, but first a little backstory.
One of the favorite arguments of those who support “assault weapon bans” is that a purpose/goal of the prohibitions is to keep “military” or “military-style” firearms out of the hands of private citizens.
Ignore, for a moment, that at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification, every long arm, short arm, or other firearm-like device was both “military” and in the hands of private citizens. Likewise, ignore that the Second Amendment was written to preserve exactly that kind of arrangement.
And, finally, ignore the entire concept of “military-style” – after all, how does the physical appearance of a device affect its actual performance? After all, this looks a lot like this, but I guarantee you they are radically different (the first is an airsoft device, to begin with).
So, the remaining question is “Do ‘assault weapon bans’ actually keep military hardware out of the hands of American citizens?”
Well, here are your three firearms for consideration:
And your first question: which of these are “military firearms”?
If you answered anything but “B”, I hate to break it to you, but you are wrong.
A is not legally considered a firearm, considering that it is a first-generation Mosin-Nagant Model 1891, and was thus produced before 1899. Even if the firearm-looking device is an exact duplicate of a firearm still currently being made and using still-available ammunition, if that specific firearm-looking device left an assembly line before 1899, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms considers it to be an “antique”.
Granted, Mosins are not still being produced, but the Model 1891 featured above does chamber still-commercially-produced 7.62x54r ammunition. However, thanks to its “antique” designation, it can be mail-ordered without involving a Federal Firearm Licensee – after all, it is not a firearm.
Firearm or not, it is almost a guarantee that the entirety of the first generation of Mosins saw service in the Soviet Union at some point, simply because between 1891 and now that country has been involved in almost non-stop conflicts, both external and internal.
B is a Finnish M91 produced between 1926 and 1927, and it almost unquestionably was a military firearm, courtesy of that country’s incessant border disputes with Russia, and that whole unpleasantness in the 1940s.
C is an AR-15 I purchased a few years back as a bare receiver and built up, and has never seen a day of military service in its short life. Further, the AR-15 platform is used by basically no military, simply because those militaries can and do avail themselves of the significantly more capable M-16 and M4 platforms.
Now, the fun question: which of those firearms is subject to “assault weapon bans”?
If you have read the first two posts of this series, you probably already know the answer; the only firearm above subject to “assault weapon bans” is C.
The other two are actual military weapons that very likely were used by military personnel to kill other human beings, but it is the firearm that was never used by a military, from a model of firearm that was basically never used by the military, that people are so very concerned with. If one wants to get truly specific, the combination of the National Firearms Act and the Hughes Amendment to the Firearm Owners Protection Act already make it functionally impossible for American citizens to procure most of even the types of firearms being used by militaries today, much less the actual, specific hardware. But old military hardware? 90% of it, or more, is available for the purchasing, and some of it does not even require background checks, per the BATFE themselves.
So, no, “assault weapon bans” have absolutely nothing to do with the military heritage – or lack thereof, in almost all cases – of the firearms being banned. Unfortunately, like so many of these talking points, that particular one is not likely to be dissuaded by facts.
(Mosin-Nagant images borrowed from 7.62x54r.net’s outstanding Mosin Identification page.)