With design and performance standards in place, the next piece of the puzzle is determining which weapons to apply the criteria to. To simply select certain models, or even less precise groupings like, "military style" or "assault type", would render the law inadequate and ineffective. Here, the government should apply its new standards to four categories of rifle.
- A service rifle is defined as the standard issue rifle of a given army or armed force. These weapons are designed to be suitable in any environment and are noted for the exceptional ease with whcih they can be upgraded
- A battle rifle, is any military service rifle that fires a "full-power" rifle cartridge like the 7.62 x 51mm NATO round.
- A DMR, is the weapon used by soldiers in the "Designated Marksman" role, a position that fills the space between a regular infantryman and a sniper.
- A carbine is defined as a long firearm that's generally shorter than a rifle or musket. Most modern firearms fitting this description are shorter versions of full size rifles. They can fire the same types of ammunition, but achieve a comparatively lower muzzle velocity.
If the revised standards were applied to weapons fitting any one of the four above descriptions, most military-use rifles would be within range of regulation or outright prohibition. Of these categories, carbines pose the greatest challenge since the designation is a little less clear than the others, but overall, such a system would give the government a comprehensive set of criteria for determining if a rifle qualifies as an assault weapon. From there, the process of enacting controls is easier and more precise.
Can Uncle Sam Handle The Workload?
So say Congress adopts these standards and the president signs them into law, the big question that will remain is whether the federal government could actually enforce the law. The individual state governments can't be compelled to go along with a federal prohibition or regulation on firearms and only 19 of the 50 have assault weapon laws of their own, so the chief federal enforcement agency, BATFE, must be able to enforce on its own any law the federal government passes .