[79] Kleck, op. cit.,p. 69. Automatic firearms discharge bullets at extremely high rates, between 400-1000 rounds per minite depending on the design. As a result, accurate aim with continuous fire from a shoulder-fired rifle is extremely difficult. Only at close range is it possible for the shooter to make more than the first round strike a human-sized target. A shooter using a shoulder-fired automatic firearm may fire more rounds in a given time span, but has less chance of actually hitting what is being aimed at. Soldiers using assualt rifles are often encouraged to fire from the semiautomatic mode when accuracy is needed in combat situations.

Non-grandfathered automatic weapons have been illegal in Canada since 1978. No hard proof exists that legally registered automatic firearms have been used in violent crime in Canada. In 1991 and 1992, the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics reported that 6 and 12 homicides, respectively, involved automatic firearms; however, whether they were previously registered in Canada, or even legitimate "full-auto's" is not known.

Nonetheless, firearm prohibitionists maintain that automatic weapons have been banned and are now rarely, if ever, used in crime. It is true that their generally large size, greater cost, technical complexity, voracious appetite for ammunition, and difficulty in aiming them accurately ultimately discourage extensive criminal use. These factors may well have far more effect on criminal choice of firearms than gun control laws.