In recent years, discussions surrounding civilian ownership of the AR-15 have reached a fever pitch, with journalists and critics presenting arguments against its place in civilian hands. It's imperative, however, to approach this discourse with a well-rounded perspective, taking into account the practical reasons that many individuals opt to own an AR-15. Let's delve into the prevalent arguments against civilian ownership and provide counterpoints that underscore the tangible advantages of possessing this firearm.
Not a weapon of war
In truth, the AR-15 of today is what the musket was to the frontiersmen and settlers of America’s colonial past. When the west was won and the United States Army switched to the revolvers and repeaters of that era, so did the civilians. When America went to war with Hitler and Tojo, hunters everywhere from Washington to Florida picked up the same .30-06 cartridge used on the battlefield as well as the rifles that fired it. Since the founding of the nation, civilians have been using the very same guns used by the military.
However, that trend ended with the AR-15. This gun is not, in fact, a weapon of war. While visually similar to the US military’s M4 Carbine, the civilian AR-15 was built from the ground up to be nothing other than a modern sporting weapon with all the ergonomics and features associated with the M4, without its full-auto capabilities. In fact, one of the few semi-automatic rifles truly classifiable as a “weapon of war” in civilian hands is the 10-round, stripper-clip fed SKS, which the Chinese and Vietnamese employed against US troops. Ironically, the SKS is not considered a “weapon of war” by the left, most likely due to its relative lack of coverage in the news and its docile-looking wooden stock. The AR-15 has never been fielded by any regular military for the sole reason that it lacks the full-auto mode essential for suppressing fire. Anyone who can still point fingers at the AR-15 and call it a weapon of war without doing the same to the SKS or Ruger Mini-14 are, at best, ignorant of the stupidity of their own argument, or at worst brainwashed by the anti-gun narrative.
Optimal for home defense
Traditionally, shotguns have dominated discussions on self-defense weaponry. However, this notion arises from a bygone era where limited firearm options were available. The advent of semi-automatic AR-15s equipped with 30-round magazines, complemented by accessories such as flashlights, red dot sights, and laser pointers, has ushered in a new era. The AR-15's advantages surpass those of shotguns. It resolves the challenge of short-stroking, an error arising from insufficient pumping, which can compromise a shotgun's readiness. In contrast, the semi-automatic AR-15 only necessitates cycling, safety disengagement, and trigger pull. This streamlined process facilitates accurate response even during moments of intense stress, such as a home invasion.
Furthermore, an AR-15 loaded with a single 30-round magazine guarantees the ability to address multiple threats without reloading. Given that home invasions often involve multiple assailants, a higher round count provides a crucial advantage. It's vital to remember that incapacitating an attacker requires more than a single shot, as individuals may persist despite sustaining gunshot wounds. In such situations, ample ammunition serves as an essential safety net.
Not about a revolution
The AR-15 has frequently been cited as the citizen’s last line of defense against a corrupt, dictatorial government. Those who argue against this mindset believe the military’s high tech hardware, combined with the professional training of its warfighters is enough to put down any domestic insurrection. However, these people miss the point.
The reality is the mere presence of an armed population prevents governments, both present and future, from abusing their power and imposing their will on the people. The very idea that people are so well-armed they can fight the government without needing the support of the military is enough to give most dictators pause for thought. As long as the American people hold on to their guns, the government will be afraid of the people’s anger.
Mass shooters would exist even without the AR-15
While it is true that some high-profile mass shootings involve AR-15 variants, it is crucial to contextualize this fact. These incidents represent a small fraction of firearm-related crimes, with handguns being more commonly used. According to statistics from the Violence Project, a comprehensive database of mass shootings in the United States, out of the 117 high profile mass shootings from the year 2000 to May 2023, only 28 shooters were confirmed to have used AR-15 variants. The vast majority of mass shooters use pistols, with the 9mm being the most-used caliber in all American crime. Yet, there are few if any calls to ban the Glock. In fact, according to a study by the Department of Justice, the 1994 “assault weapons ban” had little if any effectiveness to lower America’s murder rate.
Restricting civilian access to AR-15s would not significantly address the broader issue of gun violence. Addressing the root causes of violence and enhancing mental health support are critical components of comprehensive solutions.
In conclusion, the debate around civilian ownership of the AR-15 requires a nuanced understanding of both sides of the argument. While critics often raise concerns about its potential for misuse, there are practical reasons that individuals choose to own this firearm. These reasons encompass self-defense, deterrence against government overreach, and the flexibility to engage in various shooting activities. As discussions continue, it's vital to separate fact from fiction and consider the broader context of gun ownership and its implications for personal liberties and public safety.