Our friends at the AP issued a style update yesterday. It's an attempt at clarification of the term, but presents some obvious problems.
A rifle that is capable of being fired in fully automatic and semi-automatic modes, at the user's option. Designed for, and used by, military forces. Also used by some law enforcement agencies. The form: an
M16 assault rifle, an AK-47 assault rifle."
After all these years...
At minimum this should reduce references to Winchester 74 assault rifles. We should all write something nice about the AP today in recognition the Skinner dictum that any tick of good behavior, no matter how slight, should be rewarded.