The 'Assault Weapon' Con
A portmanteau  is a new word brought into being by blending two or more distinct words, combining them into a new word.
You can thank Lewis Carroll in Through The Looking Glass, when Humpty Dumpty explains made up words to Alice.
'You see it's like a portmanteau-there are two meanings packed up into one word.' Jabberwocky
When you pepper your speech with the term assault weapon, you unknowingly are accepting the language of gun control fanatics.
Stop saying it. You only strengthen the meme every time you say it.
Josh Sugarman, author of the controversial book Assault Weapons and Accessories in America, is a diehard gun control activist. In his 1988 book he is recognized as the first to attribute the defining military term Assault to civilian-ized arms. Assault Rifle became - jabberwocky - assault-weapon. Because a gun control fanatic said so.
"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." -- Assault Weapons and Accessories in America
Sugarman telegraphs his fear of how menacing a rifle looks. Especially the hated M16 and its carbine cousin the M4.
The black gun scares him, a grown man. I hardly know what to say.
But look, this is serious. An enemy's main goal is to put his mind in you. When you accept the lexicon of the opposition, they've won. They've put their mind in you. Gun control fanatics have already corrupted our common language by getting the made-up term assault weapon into the discourse. An assault rifle is classified as fully automatic while the term assault-weapon is a political chimera with no specific or intelligent definition. For the perpetually fearful (low information television hosts) an assault-weapon is, like the Red Queen, whatever they say it is. (The Red Queen of Alice in Wonderland is famous for saying 'a word means whatever I want it to mean')
Assault weapon is known in Jurisprudence as a 'Term of Art', again Red Queen territory because a Term of Art is (apologies to attorneys everywhere) often a slippery slope of misdirection and hidden intent.
Stop saying assault-weapon. You advance gun control activists' agenda when you do. By using their Terms. Rifle, yes. Assault-weapon, no. It's a big no no. Ask any attorney - would he rather have eye witnesses, or control of the Terms? Control the Terms, control the argument. It is that simple. Do not contribute to the miasma sweeping the nation. Low information TV hosts and low information journalists and low information voters have a hard enough time with comprehension as it is. Do not add to it by parroting the language of the activists.