If there were just five of them, we also had the open carry protest, people carrying rifles around in public, meeting in front of supermarkets, restaurants, drinking coffee at cafes. They too tended to favour the military look in their weapons.
It's a stylistic choice with it's own baggage, sure. Although, the AR15/M4/M16 series is, by far, the most common rifle in the US, and many others also use modern materials and ergonomics ("modern" is apparently the adjective you were looking for, btw). Applying the notion that extremists like military style weapons to imply military style weapons indicate an extremist is a logical fallacy.
Per the articles I read there were 5 oathkeepers in Ferguson. Not sure which protests you're referring to, but most of them seem to be pretty peaceable and focused on gun rights rather than inciting race riots, although even the NRA calls them "downright weird."
So emotional baggage is the only real problem with "assault weapon"?
Nope. As I said, it's a vague, meaningless term that redirects a legitimate discussion about gun safety into a digression about cosmetics and erroneous psychological assumptions. It panders to both sides of the debate with the deliberately false impression that such weapons are more dangerous (thereby implying non-assault weapons are less
dangerous) when, in fact, assault weapons were used in less than 2% of shootings
prior to the 1994 ban (which had little to no effect on gun violence).
Basically, it's a way for the talking heads to create drama and the politicians to avoid doing anything useful, and that
is my problem. Whether for or against gun rights, I would rather the debate focus on something more important than styles of grips and where the clip should be positioned.
A couple good quotes from that article:
“We spent a whole bunch of time and a whole bunch of political capital yelling and screaming about assault weapons,” Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu of New Orleans said. He called it a “zero sum political fight about a symbolic weapon.”
More than 20 years of research funded by the Justice Department has found that programs to target high-risk people or places, rather than targeting certain kinds of guns, can reduce gun violence.
Also I am wrong about automatic weapons being legal? I'm generally curious.
I was in error; it's illegal to sell new ones to civilians, but automatic weapons are not inherently illegal. They do fall under much stricter legislation
and licensing is much more intensive. To the point that, since 1934, there have been two deaths in the US
by legally licensed automatic weapons. An interesting article here about it
Why do you think those people were in Ferguson, with their weapons and ammunition clips on display?
I think they're a bunch of racist, irresponsible attention seeking twats willing to escalate a violent situation for the sake of their own egos. Ferguson seems to be shit for that particular fly, though, on both sides of the issue.