On Thursday’s All In show, MSNBC host Chris Hayes tried to correct Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio’s assertion that most Americans would oppose a general ban on semi-automatic rifles, but the self-described liberal caricature instead demonstrated that he is uninformed about guns as he assumed that the term “assault rifle,” that is used by gun control advocates, refers to all semi-automatic rifles as if the two terms were interchangeable.

Brad Wilmouth


Hayes played a clip of Rubio from the CNN town hall on guns from Wednesday night in which Rubio tried to explain that the assault weapons ban from the 1990s defined the term as being what a rifle looks like rather than its firing capability, meaning that many semi-automatic rifles that people use for hunting have the same or greater firepower, therefore making the ban pointless.

In an exchange with Florida Democratic Rep. Ted Deutsch, Rubio declared:

It’s not the loopholes — it’s the problem that once you start looking at how easy it is to get around it, you would literally have to ban every semi-automatic rifle that’s sold in America.

Rubio’s point went over Hayes’s head as the MSNBC host then cited a followup tweet Rubio sent out earlier in the day. Hayes:

Following up on that unexpected applause line, Senator Rubio tweeted later that “banning all semi-automatic weapons may have been popular with the ‘own hall audience, but it is a position well outside the mainstream.”

Apparently assuming that all “semi-automatic rifles” qualify as so-called “assault rifles,” Hayes then showed on screen a poll by Quinnipiac University finding that two-thirds of respondents recently indicated that they support banning “assault rifles.” Hayes:

Polling does not support that claim. Two-thirds of the public — 67 percent — say they support a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons, according to the new Quinnipiac poll

Regular annual polling by Gallup on the issue of gun bans has tended to find weak support for gun bans.