A breakdown of gun terminology to help you in discussions on mass shootings and debates over gun control

AR 15
AR-15 rifles are displayed for sale at the Guntoberfest gun show in Oaks, Pennsylvania, on October 6, 2017.

  • The language surrounding firearms can be tricky.
  • “Assault-weapons,” for example, is among the most divisive phrases in debates over gun control.
  • There’s been a renewed discussion over gun control following recent mass shootings.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Given the ongoing and divisive debate over gun control in the US, it’s helpful to understand the breakdown of some of the most important terms that frequently come up after mass shootings.

Some of these terms might appear inconsequential, but they relate strongly to discussions on what type of guns and firearm accessories should be regulated more strictly or even banned. And some in the pro-Second Amendment camp have been known to mock people calling for new gun laws when they use incorrect terminology in reference to firearms.

In the renewed discussion surrounding gun control following two high-profile mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colorado, that occurred less than a week apart, familiar disagreements are arising over terminology surrounding firearms.

Here’s a summary of some of the more common and contentious terms linked to guns and the broader discourse surrounding them in the US.

Semi-automatic vs. automatic

Semi automatic
Customers view semi-automatic guns on display at a gun shop in Los Angeles, California, on December 19, 2012.

A semi-automatic firearm refers to a gun that fires a single round or bullet each time the trigger is squeezed or pulled, and then automatically reloads the chamber between shots. 

An automatic firearm is essentially what many Americans likely think of as a machine gun, or a firearm that continuously fires while the trigger is squeezed or pulled and reloads the chamber automatically.

The vast majority of firearms in the US are semi-automatic and include rifles and handguns. Semi-automatic firearms are available across the US with few restrictions. 

Automatic weapons are heavily regulated and expensive.

The manufacture and importation of new automatic firearms has been prohibited since the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act of 1986. But this still allows for the purchase of automatic firearms made before a certain date in 1986, meaning automatics are technically legal in certain circumstances.

Magazine vs. clip

Magazine
A gun and a magazine is pictured in this evidence photo released by the Connecticut State Police on December 27, 2013.

“Magazine” and “clip” are often used interchangeably, though they aren’t the same thing. 

A magazine is a container that holds cartridges or rounds of ammunition and feeds them into the firing chamber of a gun. Some magazines are internal, while others are detachable. 

A clip holds multiple rounds of ammunition together, often on a metal strip, to be fed into a magazine. Most guns have magazines (revolvers and some types of shotguns do not have magazines), but not all firearms use clips. 

 

 

 

Assault-weapons

Assault weapons
Frank Loane, owner of Pasadena Pawn and Gun, stands in front of a wall of assault rifles at his store in Pasadena, Maryland, on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013.

“Assault-weapons” is among the most contentious phrases in discussions on gun control.

There’s not a universal definition of what an assault weapon is, which is part of the reason this subject tends to antagonize the gun lobby or pro-gun advocates. 

But in 1994, after the now-expired assault-weapons ban passed, the Justice Department said, “In general, assault weapons are semiautomatic firearms with a large magazine of ammunition that were designed and configured for rapid fire and combat use.”

The gun industry often defines an assault rifle as a firearm with “select fire capabilities,” or the ability to adjust or switch the firearm between semi-automatic and automatic settings or modes.

In short, pro-Second Amendment groups typically say a firearm should only be called an assault-weapon when it’s capable of fully automatic fire — or they reject the terminology altogether. 

“None of the so-called ‘assault rifles’ legally owned by US civilians are assault rifles as the term is used in military contexts,” Florida State University criminal justice professor emeritus Gary Kleck, told PolitiFact.

Kleck added, “Assault rifles used by members of the military can all fire full automatic, like machine guns, as well as one shot at a time, whereas none of the so-called ‘assault rifles’ legally owned by US civilians can fire full automatic.”

Based on the idiosyncrasies of this issue and the broader debate surrounding it, many gun control advocates tend to refer to semi-automatic firearms that have been used in mass shootings as “assault-style” or “military-style” weapons. 

Polling has consistently shown that the vast majority of Americans would support an assault-weapons ban. 

AR-15

AR 15
AR-15 rifles are displayed for sale at the Guntoberfest gun show in Oaks, Pennsylvania, on October 6, 2017.

The AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle and has been referred to by the National Rifle Association as “America’s most popular rifle.” 

The “AR” in AR-15 does not stand for “assault rifle,” but is linked to the original manufacturer of the firearm: ArmaLite, Inc. The name stands for ArmaLite Rifle. 

The AR-15 was originally developed by ArmaLite to be a military rifle, designing it for fast reloading in combat situations, but the company hit financial troubles. By 1959, ArmaLite sold the design of the AR-15 to Colt, which had success in pitching it to the US military.

The rifle’s automatic version, the M-16, was used during the Vietnam War. Meanwhile, Colt sold the semi-automatic version, the AR-15, to the public and police. 

“If you’re a hunter, camper, or collector, you’ll want the AR-15 Sporter,” a 1963 advertisement for the firearm said.

Colt’s patent on the rifle’s operating system expired in 1977, opening the door for other manufacturers to copy the technology and make their own models. 

The AR-15 was prohibited from 1994 to 2004 via the assault weapons ban. Gun manufacturers promptly reintroduced the AR-15 after the ban expired, and sales went way up. 

There are “well over 11 million” AR-15 style rifles in the hands of Americans, according to an investigation by CBS News’s “60 Minutes,” which also notes handguns kill “far more people.”

But AR-15 style rifles have frequently been used in mass shootings, placing the firearm at the center of the debate over gun control — particularly in relation to whether an assault weapons ban should be reimposed. 

High-capacity magazines

High capacity magazines
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut speaks at a news conference on a proposed amendment to ban high-capacity magazines in guns in Washington, DC, on February 12, 2019.

High or large-capacity magazines are typically defined as ammunition-feeding devices holding more than 10 rounds. Nine states currently ban high-capacity magazines.

High-capacity magazines are capable of holding up to 100 rounds of ammunition, allowing for dozens of shots to be fired off before reloading. The rifle used in a 2019 mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, was affixed with a 100-round drum magazine.

 

Bump stock

Bump stock
A bump fire stock that attaches to a semi-automatic rifle to increase the firing rate is seen at Good Guys Gun Shop in Orem, Utah, on October 4, 2017.

A bump stock is an attachment that allows a semi-automatic weapon to fire at a more rapid rate. 

It replaces the standard stock of a rifle, or the part of the firearm that rests against the shoulder. A bump stock uses the recoil effect to bounce the rifle off of the shoulder of the shooter, which in turn causes the trigger to continuously bump back into the shooter’s trigger finger. 

In effect, bump stocks allow semi-automatic weapons to fire like machine guns. 

Bump stocks were banned by the Trump administration in a large part due to the Las Vegas shooting in 2017, which was the deadliest mass shooting in US history.

 

Red flag law

FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a sign during a rally against guns and white supremacy in the wake of mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso in front of the White House in Washington, U.S., August 6, 2019.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
Rally against guns and white supremacy in front of the White House in Washington

Red flag laws, also known as Extreme Risk laws, allow judges to temporarily confiscate a person’s firearms if they’re considered a danger to themselves or others. 

Nineteen states and Washington, DC, have implemented some form of a red flag law, according to Everytown for Gun Safety: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

Gun show loophole

gun show
In this Jan. 26, 2013 file photo, a customer looks over shotguns on display at the annual New York State Arms Collectors Association Albany Gun Show at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany, New York.

The so-called “gun show loophole” is among the most discussed topics in relation to calls for gun reform advocates for expanded background checks.

“Gun show loophole” is a catch-all phrase referring to the sale of firearms by unlicensed, private sellers at gun shows and other venues — including the internet — without the involvement of background checks. 

Federally licensed gun dealers are required to run background checks, but not all sellers are required to be licensed — laws vary from state to state. In this sense, there is a “loophole” that allows private sellers to sell firearms without conducting background checks. 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is the federal agency that licenses gun dealers.

“As a general rule, you will need a license if you repetitively buy and sell firearms with the principal motive of making a profit,” the ATF states. “In contrast, if you only make occasional sales of firearms from your personal collection, you do not need to be licensed.”

The implementation of a federal law requiring universal background checks, or background checks for all gun sales, has been at the top of the wish list for gun control advocates for years.

It’s also a policy that the vast majority of Americans support. According to polling conducted by Pew Research Center in late 2018, 91% of Democrats and 79% of Republicans favor background checks for private gun sales and sales at gun shows.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The ‘unprecedented’ wreck of a Hyundai cargo ship off the coast of Georgia a year ago is no longer a mystery – here’s what happened

Golden Ray capsized 8
The Golden Ray capsized on Sunday for unknown reasons.

  • A cargo ship owned by Hyundai Glovis, Hyundai motor’s ocean freight logistics company, capsized and caught fire off the coast of Georgia in September 2019.
  • The cargo ship was carrying about 4,300 cars, and all 24 crew members were rescued alive, according to Reuters and Car and Driver.
  • The Golden Ray is being sawed into eight pieces and removed segment-by-segment, NPR reported.
  • After delays from hurricanes and the coronavirus pandemic, the first segment, the bow of the ship, was removed in late November 2020, Car and Driver reported.
  • The wreck may have been the result of replacing subcompact cars with the heavier Kia Telluride SUVs, therefore changing the ship’s balance, Car and Driver reported.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A cargo ship carrying about 4,000 cars capsized and caught fire in September 2019 in St. Simons Sound off the coast of Brunswick, Georgia, according to NPR

The 656-foot Golden Ray vehicle carrier, owned by Hyundai Glovis, had a capacity of 6,933 cars, according to Reuters. At the time of its demise, the ship was carrying about 4,300 Kia, Chevrolet, GMC, GM, Mercedes-Benz, and Ram vehicles, according to a report by Car and Driver.

There were 24 people on board during the wreck: 23 crew members and one pilot. Of the rescued, 20 were initially safely removed from the boat according to the US Coast Guard. The remaining four were later rescued, all alive and in “relatively good condition,” according to the Associated Press.

Read more: The CEO of Hyundai and Aptiv’s autonomous-vehicle joint venture reveals the biggest mistake managers make when hiring new employees

The removal company initially had the goal of  removing the ship before the height of the hurricane season, NPR reported, by sawing the Golden Ray into eight pieces and taking each segment piece-by-piece out of the water and onto a barge, according to an animated video released by St. Simons Sound Joint Information Center on YouTube.

However, after delays from hurricanes and the coronavirus pandemic, the first cut was not removed until late November 2020, according to Car and Driver. Shortly after oin December 9, 2020, Car and Driver published a report that found that hundreds of subcompact vehicles were replaced by the heavier Kia Telluride SUV, therefore changing the ship’s balance and causing the wreck.

See the full timeline of the Golden Ray wreck:

The cargo ship Golden Ray capsized and caught fire in September 2019 in St. Simons Sound off the coast of Brunswick, Georgia, roughly 80 miles south of Savannah, Georgia.

Golden Ray capsized 9
Golden Ray.

The US Coast Guard called the wreck “unprecedented,” according to NPR …

Golden Ray
Golden Ray cargo ship in St. Simons Island, Georgia.

Source: NPR

… and the ship listed a full 90 degrees, according to CBS News.

Golden Ray Coastal Resources Division - Georgia DNR
Golden Ray.

Source: CBS News

The 656-foot vehicle carrier Golden Ray is owned and operated by Hyundai Glovis, Hyundai Motor’s ocean freight logistics division.

Golden Ray capsized 8
Golden Ray.

The Golden Ray had the capacity to carry 6,933 vehicles.

Golden Ray capsized 6
Golden Ray.

However, at the time of its demise, the ship was carrying about 4,300 Kia, Chevrolet, GMC, GM, Mercedes-Benz, and Ram vehicles when capsized, according to a report by Car and Driver.

Golden Ray Coastal Resources Division - Georgia DNR
Golden Ray.

Source: Car and Driver

“We are making rescue of crew members as our top priority,” a Hyundai Glovis official told Reuters at the time of the wreck. “After that we will investigate any damage on cargo.”

Golden Ray capsized 7
Golden Ray.

Source: Reuters

The ship was headed to Baltimore up the coast from Jacksonville, Florida.

Golden Ray capsized 1
Golden Ray.

There were 24 people on board: 23 crew members and one pilot. Everyone was rescued alive.

Golden Ray capsized 2
Golden Ray.

Before being rescued, the rescue team was communicating with the trapped crew members through a hole the rescuers’ drilled, according to CBS.

Golden Ray capsized 3
Golden Ray.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources had been monitoring the coastal environmental conditions following the capsizing.

Golden Ray capsized 4
Golden Ray.

The company thanked the Coast Guard in a statement, and said it would work on “mitigating damage to property and the environment.”

Golden Ray Coastal Resources Division - Georgia DNR
Golden Ray.

A joint recovery team between the state of Georgia, the Coast Guard, and Hyundai’s contractor, Gallagher Marine Systems, was tasked with pumping the approximately 300,000 gallons of fuel and oil out of the ship’s tank, NPR reported.

Golden Ray rescue
Golden Ray.

Source: NPR

Despite these efforts, the Golden Ray was leaking an “unknown” amount of fuel, and oil sheens have been found in the surrounding waters on the beaches and marshes.

Golden Ray rescue
Golden Ray.

The crew tried to mitigate the spill spreading by setting up containment booms, spraying oil absorbents onto the marshes, and removing oiled dead grass.

Golden Ray rescue
Golden Ray.

Salvage crew members were also monitoring the air and water quality and toxicity inside the ship to predict possible further contamination.

Golden Ray rescue
Golden Ray.

On October 25, 2019 the St. Simons Sound Response’s Unified Command released 3D-photos of the ship’s decks. This is the ninth deck.

Cargo Hold Lidar Imagery_Golden Ray
Golden Ray.

Source: St. Simons Sound Response

The photos, including this one of the fourth deck, were created using laser technology that analyzed the inaccessible cargo hold filled with damaged cars.

Cargo Hold Lidar Imagery_Golden Ray
Golden Ray.

Three days after the photos were released, the command decided to place rocks next to the hull to slow down the boat’s erosion, according to Maritime Executive.

Cargo Hold Lidar Imagery_Golden Ray
Golden Ray.

Source: Maritime Executive

The rocks will be removed after the Golden Ray has been completely dismantled.

AP20337583394198
The Golden Ray on December 1, 2020,

Marine chemists and salvage operators, pictured below on November 22, 2019, were assessing the oil inside of the wreckage in order to figure out the best way to remove oil without damaging the environment and response crew.

Golden Ray
Golden Ray.

Work barges have been deployed to clean up the tank’s oil, as announced by St. Simons Sound Response on December 4, 2019. Barges provide better access to crew members and equipment.

Golden Ray
Golden Ray.

Source: St. Simons Sound Response

On December 12, 2019, the St. Simons Sound Incident Response Unified Command finished removing oil from all of the ship’s 26 accessible tanks. Some of the tanks were submerged and had to be oil pumped via diving operations.

Golden Ray Prop to Barge 2
Golden Ray.

Over 320,000 gallons of oil and water were removed.

Golden Ray prop removed 1
Golden Ray.

“This milestone helps ensure the health of the environment and the livelihoods of the people who rely on the St. Simons Sound,” Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s emergency response state on-scene coordinator Jed Hewitt said in a statement. “The removal of fuel from the vessel has significantly reduced the remaining threat to the environment.”

Golden Ray on December 1, 2020 wreck
The Golden Ray on December 1, 2020.

Source: St. Simons Sound Incident Response

On December 20, 2019, Golden Ray’s rudder and propeller -which weighed a total of 130 tons – were removed to “help reduce stresses to the hull of the wreck,” St. Simons Sound Response wrote in a statement.

Golden Ray Rudder Removal
Golden Ray.

A fire was started on board the ship on January 19 when contract welders were working inside the ship. At least one car inside of the Golden Ray caught on fire, but the flames were put out via the contractor’s fireboat, local news reported.

Golden Ray
Golden Ray.

Source: First Coast News, News 4 Jax

Donjon-SMIT, the former Golden Ray salvage company, filed a lawsuit against the US Coast Guard alleging that the Coast Guard violated federal law by dropping Donjon-SMIT to work with a rival company, News 4 Jax reported.

Golden Ray
Golden Ray.

Source: News 4 Jax

Donjon-SMIT said the US Coast Guard allegedly violated a 1990 federal law after Donjon-SMIT was dropped as the official salvage response company even though it was already a part of the Golden Ray’s response plan, WABE reported.

The Golden Ray on December 1, 2020
The Golden Ray on December 1, 2020,

Source: WABE

“The cars need to be safely removed to avoid environmental disaster,” Donjon-SMIT said in the legal filing, News 4 Jax reported.

AP20337583356366
The Golden Ray on December 1, 2020,

Source: News 4 Jax

The new salvage company was set to start removing the Golden Ray in March, NPR reported.

Golden Ray
Golden Ray cargo ship in St. Simons Island, Georgia.

Source: NPR

St. Simons Sound Joint Information Center released an animated video on YouTube depicting how the wreck will be removed.

Golden Ray
Golden Ray cargo ship in St. Simons Island, Georgia.

Source: YouTube 

The Golden Ray was to be sawed into eight pieces, and the sections will then be individually lifted out of the water and placed onto a barge to be taken away.

Golden Ray
Golden Ray cargo ship in St. Simons Island, Georgia.

Workers from the salvage company placed an environmental barrier around the Golden Ray to stop oil and debris from spreading during the removal process.

Golden Ray
Golden Ray cargo ship in St. Simons Island, Georgia.

After the coronavirus pandemic and hurricanes caused delays in the removal plan, the team finally lifted the bow, the ship’s first cut, towards the end of November 2020, Car and Driver reported.

Golden Ray
Golden Ray cargo ship in St. Simons Island, Georgia.

Source: Car and Driver

On December 9, 2020, Car and Driver published a report that found that hundreds of subcompact vehicles were replaced by the heavier Kia Telluride SUVs, therefore changing the ship’s balance and causing the wreck.

Golden Ray on December 1, 2020 wreck
The Golden Ray on December 1, 2020.

Source: Car and Driver

According to the report, 316 new Tellurides replaced about 285 Kia Fortes and Hyundai Accents after the ship stopped in Brunswick, Georgia for a cargo change.

Golden Ray on December 1, 2020 wreck
The Golden Ray on December 1, 2020.

According to the Car and Driver report, the weight difference between a subcompact and a Telluride is about 1,200 pounds.

Golden Ray on December 1, 2020 wreck
The Golden Ray on December 1, 2020.

Read the original article on Business Insider