VPC Study Explains Assault Weapons’ Spray-Fire Design

Media Contact: Georgia Seltzer, (202) 822-8200 x104, gseltzer@vpc.org

Bullet Hoses Documents History of Assault Weapons, Shows That Widely Available Civilian Assault Weapons Incorporate Specific Military Design Features for “Laying Down a High Volume of Fire Over a Wide Killing Zone”

WASHINGTON, DC – The Violence Policy Center (VPC) today released a new study, Bullet Hoses: Semiautomatic Assault Weapons What Are They? What’s So Bad About Them? The study traces the design history of assault weapons from the 1944 Nazi Sturmgewehr (STG) 44 the first assault weapon to the current Bushmaster XM-15, the assault rifle used last year by the Washington, DC-area snipers. Bullet Hoses shows how civilian semiautomatic assault weapons like the AK-47, UZI, and TEC-9 incorporate the major design features that were specifically developed by the military for laying down a high volume of fire over a wide killing zone, often called “hosing down” an area.

“Bullet Hoses demolishes the National Rifle Association’s phony argument that AK-47 and UZI civilian assault weapons are just like grandpa’s semiautomatic hunting rifle,” said study author Tom Diaz, VPC senior policy analyst. “It also shreds the unregulated gun industry’s pretense that there is no such thing as a civilian assault weapon and documents how the industry has in fact cynically exploited the deadly design features of civilian assault weapons like the TEC-DC9 and Hi-Point Carbine used at Columbine High School in 1999 to sell these killing machines and boost its profits.”

Bullet Hoses documents 10 key points about why semiautomatic assault weapons are too deadly for civilian use, using firearms references widely hailed by gun enthusiasts as authoritative sources as well as documents from the gun industry itself. The study also explains how the current federal assault weapons ban scheduled to “sunset” or automatically expire on September 13, 2004 fails to capture the most deadly design features and thus needs to be strengthened. The unregulated gun industry has successfully circumvented the current law, designing and marketing assault weapons like the Bushmaster XM-15 that incorporate slight cosmetic modifications to evade the ban, while keeping the principal features that make deadly “spray-firing” easy.


The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on Twitter and Facebook.