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Setting the Record Straight Regarding the AR-15

It isn’t surprising that the media and other anti-gun groups in the US have been trying so hard to vilify the rifle called the AR-15. They use scare tactics in order to do this, and they won’t let the facts get in the way of scaring the public. So what is the truth about the “big, bad” AR-15 that they won’t talk about?

First of all, the AR-15 is neither an ‘assault weapon’ nor an “assault rifle’. “Assault weapon” is a made-up term the press came up with to scare people. By definition, since words really do mean things, an assault weapon would be any weapon someone could use or have used to assault another person; rocks, clubs, fists, frying pans, knives, butter knives, forks, a foot…the list is almost endless. Anything that has ever been used to assault someone would be a weapon and contrary to the opinion of some people, this term is meaningless.

Assault rifle, on the other hand, is real and this is a military term to describe a rifle that can be switched from semi-automatic, to burst, to fully automatic. It has been against the law in the US to own an assault rifle or any fully automatic firearm since 1986 unless the person is a certified gun collector. To get a certified gun collector license requires an extensive and expensive background check that takes about 2 years to complete.

Not only does an AR-15 not have the means to switch between semi-automatic to burst or automatic, but it has also never been used by the military. In fact, though it looks ‘big, bad’, it is neither. It is simply designed to look like the military equivalent, which is an assault rifle; the M16. An M16 can be switched from semi-automatic to fully automatic or burst.

In truth, an AR-15 is no more dangerous than the .22 semi-automatic rifle I owned many decades ago. An M16 is considerably more dangerous and was used by US troops in the Vietnam war. It is illegal for a civilian to own one.

It might also be surprising to know that no fully automatic rifle has been used to commit a mass-murder in the US in the past 50 years; not one. In fact, very few murders are committed even with a semi-automatic. 

For those who don’t know the difference between a semi-automatic and an automatic, a semi-automatic rifle fires exactly one bullet each time the trigger is squeezed until there are no more bullets in the clip or magazine to be fired. An automatic fires continuously for as long as the trigger is held down until it runs out of ammunition. An automatic is a machinegun. An AR-15 doesn’t have automatic capabilities.

An AR-15 was designed to look bad, but it isn’t. This is primarily cosmetic. It would be similar to taking my old Dodge Neon and replacing the body with a Ferrari body. It would look like a Ferrari, but it would still be a Dodge Neon. 

Some politicians have their eyes set on banning the AR-15. This would do absolutely nothing and the political stance is made only to try to get votes. Politicians are well aware that banning this gun wouldn’t do anything at all. They also know that the problem with gun violence isn’t the gun, but rather the violator; the person who is using the gun. If they honestly wanted to do something about gun violence, that is where the entire focus would be placed. 

For the record, I don’t own an AR-15 and wouldn’t. It is clumsy, inaccurate, and wouldn’t suit my needs as a deer rifle, which is the only reason I’d own a rifle. Even if I was to hit a deer with one, the chances are good that it wouldn’t even knock the deer off its feet. Still, it is the most popular sporting rifle in the US and it is often given a bad and fictitious reputation.

  • Now that this has been explained, to you understand that an AR-15 is neither an assault weapon nor an assault rifle?

    • Yes
    • No
    • I still don’t know the difference

What do you think?

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Written by Rex Trulove

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14 Comments

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  1. Thank you, Rex for setting the record straight, however, judging by what you are up against in the comments, and while it’s a “NO BRAINER”, on the one hand, you are preaching to the choir, and on the Liberalists, side, worldwide, who are too stupid/blind or politically driven or, all the above, since, Caucasian males LIE, PERIOD, I’m one too, when I last checked. Excellent and informative post.

    • Unfortunately, you’re right. It reminds me many years ago when I was working as a cook. I had an excellent boss, but she had an annoying quirk. When she’d inspect my cook station, she would keep looking until she found something wrong with it, no matter how trivial. If it took an hour, that was fine, but she always found something wrong. I started getting into the habit of making sure there was something wrong that she would spot right away. I wasn’t paid during the time of the inspections and didn’t want to wait endlessly. It was nothing major…I’d leave crumbs in the bottom of the toaster or “forget” to spray the waffle irons, things like that.

      Too often, liberals go on the same brainless hunt with nothing to back up their claims.

    • That is true, and it is a large part of the division between people. Gun owners tend to laugh at anti-gun people if they say something that indicates that they think that AR-15’s are assault rifles because it shows that the person doesn’t know much about firearms. Of course, that is an opportunity to edify the other person and explain the difference, but many gun-owners don’t even try.

    • That is the thing, though. A person doesn’t need to be interested in having a gun or shooting one in order to understand the basics. Too many people will argue against gun ownership without knowing anything about the topic. It honestly isn’t difficult to understand the basics.

  2. Rex, You know my views on guns – full stop – and they haven’t changed.

    I am also totally against blood sports of all kinds. I just don’t think that people should be killing animals for the fun of it, whatever weapon they might use.

    • John, the point is that way too many politicians and members of the press clearly don’t know what an assault rifle is and they have a propensity to call an AR-15 an assault rifle, which it isn’t.

      Nobody in the US who doesn’t want to own a gun must get one. That is up to the individual. Most gun-owners I know will protect the right of a person not to own a gun if that is their choice. There are people here in town who don’t own guns and that is perfectly okay. The people in town who do own guns do whatever they can to make sure that those people don’t need to have guns if they don’t want them.

      As for hunting, I don’t know a single hunter who does it for fun. The primary reason they hunt is for the meat and the secondary reason is to help the herds (or flocks, etc, depending on what they are hunting.) To me, hunting for fun would describe trophy hunting and although I try not to be judgmental of others, I have never, ever gone trophy hunting and have no desire to do so.

      I wouldn’t disagree that hunting is a sport, though, just like fishing is. Walking for five miles through rough terrain while toting an 8-pound rifle, just for the chance to bring home a venison, then getting that venison out of the woods and home (assuming that the hunter is successful) is a great deal of work and effort. In my youth, I didn’t have a problem with doing something that strenuous, but now I can barely walk a block over even terrain.

      There are over 300 million deer in the US and many areas are way over-populated. However, that doesn’t come close to guaranteeing that a hunter will be successful in the hunt. Still, there is the potential for putting meat in the freezer, while also helping the deer herds. Some people also hunt with ATV’s, which makes it much easier to bring a deer back home, but I’ve never been wealthy enough to own an ATV. Still, I don’t personally know a single hunter who hunts for fun.

  3. I’ve actually heard politicians claim that the AR in AR-15 stands for assault rifle.

    The vast majority of murders in the USA are committed by handguns. In fact more people are murdered by hammers than by all rifle, not just the AR-15. Yet they always try to make this rifle the boogeyman.

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