pistol grips, bayonet lugs, folding stocks were the items that made something an assault weapon
military history had no relevance
and a semi automatic is no more deadly with those features
it was an idiotic law and one of its biggest supporters admitted its only real purpose was to desensitize people to more draconian gun bans in the future
olympic target weapons were banned by this idiocy
NRA-ILA : Clinton Gun Ban
"It might be 50 years before the United States gets to where Britain is today. Passing a law like the assault weapon ban is a symbolic--purely symbolic--move in that direction. Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation."
--Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, April 5, 1996