"The self-fulfilling prophecy of "assault weapons"
Banning large-capacity magazines and rifles with military appearances (but not the same full-auto function), is a bit like banning beer kegs and big cars with tail fins (like those on rockets and military jets) to cut down on drunk driving fatalities.
The whole thing was started by a gun control advocate named Josh Sugarman (of the Violence Policy Center and National Coalition to Ban Handguns) who deliberately styled military look-alikes as "assault weapons" to make people afraid of them and set a precedent for banning all firearms.
"Assault weapons—just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms—are a new topic. The weapons' menacing looks, coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. In addition, few people can envision a practical use for these weapons."
-Josh Sugarmann, Assault Weapons and Accessories in America, 1988
Now, who ever heard of anyone using this particular style of rifle to blow people away in mass killings, until Sugarman and the news media made a big issue of them, making people afraid that this is what would happen. It is quite possible that in creating the fear, they created the monsters, terrorists who want that kind of attention for whatever twisted reasons suit them. When teachers do this to children, making them fail in school by constantly telling them they will fail, it's called a "self-fulfilling prophecy". Create the monsters and they will come.
Ain't politics grand?
Some say these firearms have no use but to kill people. Wrong. In the vast majority of cases, decent people use them for target shooting competitions, including those which train civilians as marksmen before they ever volunteer for the military. The Congress created the Office of the Director of Civilian Marksmanship in 1903, run by the U.S. Army until 1996, which administered the Civilian Marksmanship Program. Now known as the non-profit Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice & Firearms Safety, according to wikipedia, it still sells military surplus bolt-action and semi-automatic rifles for training purposes to qualified law-abiding buyers. Which helps to make our military arguably the most effective in the world. "