To answer Ann Pompello's question, "Why is America so reluctant to ban automatic weapons", it's because automatic weapons aren't remotely the issue. They are simply the convenient vehicle the Left is steering in order to hide the real issue, which is the expansion of government control.
A reasonable person would question why anyone needs 30 rounds in order to kill a deer. Well-meaning common sense would lead us to agree that perhaps a weapon of such overkill potential could indeed be removed from the marketplace. And so we allow it to be eliminated, thus getting us accustomed to giving government the power to regulate our needs and make our decisions for us. This insidious removal of our independence is the ongoing objective of the Left - gun control efforts are just another facet of it.
After the automatic weapon is eliminated, the next most powerful weapon would then be next in line to be demonized and removed. And so on, until we are disarmed. Ask the citizens of the Soviet Union, the Ottoman Empire, Germany, Cambodia, China, and every other despotically-ruled country what happens when the populace is disarmed and the government meets with no resistance.
The truth is that the assault weapons ban had little to no effect when it was in place from 1994 until 2004. As for "eliminating" the assault weapon, that effort will only ensure that law-abiding citizens won't be able to get one. Criminals, however, will always have access to such weapons. Why would anyone prefer criminals to have the ability to out-gun law-abiding citizens?
Gun control is about control, not guns - be they assault weapons or otherwise. Let us not be fooled.