So from a legislation perspective, do you use cosmetic features as a basis for regulation? Model numbers (that are chosen largely based on cosmetic features)?
An even less conservative supreme court upheld the right of people to own semi-auto handguns as a means of self defense. If you want new gun regulations to stand up to legal challenge you're gonna need to be on some pretty solid footing.
I mean, this entire argument boils down to - conservatives don't want gun control and have the political power to prevent it from happening.
In your particular example, well a .223 is quite a bit different than a .22, that'd be one place to start (the pistol grips, more compact build are also factors in terms of actual effectiveness in these settings).