Omar Mateen Had a “Modern Sporting Rifle” The firearms industry doesn’t call the gun he used in Orlando an assault weapon. It prefers a less threatening name.

“Modern sporting rifle is a euphemism that the gun industry created in 2009 to describe modular semi-automatic rifles. The phrase is an artful attempt to recast weapons such as the MCX and the AR-15 (and its variants) as all-American toys. Never mind “quiet and deadly” and “close-quarters battle”: Modern sporting rifle conjures up images of aristocrats riding with their hounds, vacationers knocking clays out of the sky, and ruddy-faced athletes enjoying their autumns in Carhartt jackets and mud-spattered ATVs. The term is a genius act of marketing, meant to bring these deadly weapons into the mainstream and keep them there. It’s also disingenuous hokum that exists to cloud debate, like calling a used car “pre-owned.””

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