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Friday, March 29, 2013

New entries on weapons, homicide, murder, manslaughter | Associated Press Stylebook

Not surprisingly, given the continuing news about tragic shootings and common-sense gun-safety laws, the Associated Press has updated its entries on weapons, homicide, murder and manslaughter.

As a paid subscriber to the online edition of the AP Stylebook, I get email announcements about updates and additions whenever AP makes them.

Here are examples of the revised entries:
homicide, murder, manslaughter Homicide is a legal term for slaying or killing.
Murder is malicious, premeditated homicide. Some states define certain homicides as murder if the killing occurs in the course of armed robbery, rape, etc.
Generally speaking, manslaughter is homicide without malice or premeditation.
homicide should not be described as murder unless a person has been convicted of that charge.
Do not say that a victim was murdered until someone has been convicted in court. Instead, say that a victim was killed or slain. Do not write that X was charged with murdering Y. Use the formal charge – murder – and, if not already in the story, specify the nature of the killing – shooting, stabbing, beating, poisoning, drowning, etc.: Jones was charged with murder in the shooting of his girlfriend. ...
***
weapons Gun is an acceptable term for any firearm. ...
assault rifle, assault weapon Terms for military or police-style weapons that are shorter than a conventional rifle and technically known as carbines. The precise definitions may vary from one law or jurisdiction to another. Although the terms are often used interchangeably, some make the distinction that assault rifle is a military weapon with a selector switch for firing in either fully automatic or semi-automatic mode from a detachable, 10- to 30-round magazine. Comparatively lightweight and easy to aim, this carbine was designed for tactical operations and is used by some law enforcement agencies. The form: an M16 assault rifle, an AK-47 assault rifle, a Kalashnikov assault rifleAn assault weapon is the civilian version of the military carbine with a similar appearance. This gun is semi-automatic, meaning one shot per trigger pull. Ammunition magazines ranging from 10 to 30 rounds or more allow rapid-fire capability. ...
automatic A firearm that reloads automatically after each shot. The term should not be used to describe the rate of fire. To avoid confusion, specify fully automatic or semi-automatic rather than simply automatic. Give the type of weapon or model for clarity.
clip A device to store multiple rounds of ammunition together as a unit, ready for insertion into the gun. Clips are generally used to load obsolete military rifles. Clip is not the correct term for a detachable magazine commonly used in modern military rifles, assault rifles, assault weapons, submachine guns and semi-automatic pistols. See magazine.
fully automatic A firearm that fires continuously as long as the trigger is depressed. Examples include machine guns and submachine guns.
handgun A pistol or a revolver.
M1, M16 These and similar combinations of a letter and figure(s) designate rifles used by the military. The forms: an M1 rifle, an M16 rifle.
magazine The ammunition storage and feeding device within or attached to a firearm. It may be fixed to the firearm or detachable. It is not a clip.
pistol A handgun that can be a single shot or a semi-automatic. Differs from a revolver in that the chamber and barrel are one integral part. Its size is measured in calibers. The form: a .45-caliber pistol.
revolver A handgun. Differs from a pistol in that cartridges are held in chambers in a cylinder that revolves through the barrel. The form: a .45-caliber revolver.
rifle A firearm designed or made to be fired from the shoulder and having a rifled bore. It uses bullets or cartridges for ammunition. Its size is measured in calibers. The form: a .22-caliber rifle.
Saturday night special A compact, relatively inexpensive handgun.
semi-automatic A firearm that fires only once for each pull of the trigger. It reloads after each shot. The form: a semi-automatic riflea semi-automatic weapona semi-automatic pistol. The hyphen is an exception to general guidance against hyphenating words formed with semi-.
shotgun A firearm typically used to fire small spherical pellets called shot. Shotguns usually have a smooth bore barrel, but some contain a rifled barrel, which is used to fire a single projectile. Size is measured according to gauge, except for the .410, which is measured according to caliber, meaning the ball leaving the barrel is 0.41" in diameter. The form: a 12-gauge shotgun, a .410 shotgun.
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