CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Gun politics have been the news a lot lately.
The tragic Newtown, Conn., school shootings unleashed an avalanche of media-driven anti-gun sentiment. President Obama and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., have sought to capitalize on the avalanche by launching gun-control efforts.
Obama took 23 "executive actions," most of which redoubled efforts to enforce existing laws or ordered government agencies to take steps within their existing authority.
Feinstein introduced sweeping gun-control legislation that, if passed, would ban future sales of more than 150 models of so-called "assault weapons," force existing owners to register theirs, prohibit the sale of magazines designed to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and require federal background checks on all gun and ammunition sales.
There's a lot of heat on both sides of the issue.
Gun-control advocates believe they'll help make the country safer by ridding it of a particular style of firearms. Pro-gun groups see Obama and Feinstein's measures as the first steps in a long-term effort to disarm law-abiding citizens.
The general public - the tens of millions of Americans who don't advocate for either side - would benefit if both sides focused more on casting light on the issue than generating heat around it.
If, for example, Obama or Feinstein wanted the public to make a truly informed decision, they would stop using the catchall term "military-style assault weapons."
When people hear the phrase "military-style," they immediately think of the assault rifles they see in movies and documentaries, fully automatic weapons capable of firing multiple rounds with a single pull of the trigger.
Those are not - repeat, not - what Feinstein's legislation would ban.