I guess the Dick's Sporting Goods decision to end the sale of something or other from all their stores is a big deal. Their media statement is hazy:
We will no longer sell assault-style rifles, also referred to as modern sporting rifles.
The NY Times headline refers to assault-style rifles but the body refers to
"all AR-15s and other semiautomatic rifles"
In the specific context of Dick's Sporting Goods that may be a distinction without a difference. For comparison I checked Cabela's website - they have very few semiautomatic rifles that are not described as 'tactical'. Most of the SA rifles there have a detachable magazine and a pistol grip, so by the 2013 proposed AWB that makes them assault rifles.
That said, this Browning BAR MK 3 DBM is neither an AR-15 nor adorned with scary military features. However, if you don't respect the firepower of a semiautomatic rifle with a ten round magazine filled with .308 Winchesters, well, you are probably an editor for the NY Times dreading the impact of a .223 round from an AR-15.
A consumer backlash is inevitable.