It has been said that some Americans who are calling for a ban on assault rifles don’t know what they are. That’s probably true. Most of us know that assault rifles have tremendous firepower and originally were designed for the military. It has been a weapon used in mass killings by deranged individuals.

What about the Bushmaster, the weapon used in the Sandy Hook school killings. We learned a bit more about it after reading an editorial in The Wall Street Journal. It’s a semiautomatic, military-style assault rifle made by the Bushmaster company. It’s a popular weapon in the gun culture.

Bushmasters, some of which come in camouflage and desert khaki, have a flash suppressor on the end of the barrel, which makes it possible to shoot at night without a blinding flare. Magazines can be changed rapidly, another feature the military needs while in a fire fight. Barrel shrouds allow firm control without fear of burns from a hot muzzle from firing rapid rounds.

It is estimated that millions of these weapons are in civilian hands. The Bushmaster company, needless to say, has been successful in marketing the weapon to civilians. With the high demand today, a person probably will have to pay about $2,000 for a Bushmaster.

We doubt if assault weapons will ever be banned because the American gun culture is too embedded in our lives. Civilians really don’t need a Bushmaster, but out of fear and a desire for protection, or the enjoyment of firing one, it feels good in their hands.