AR-15’s are not the weapon of choice of murderers. 2% of homicides are committed with any type of rifle.
A ban would have zero effect on crime, as was demonstrated by the previous ban. I oppose the ban because it infringes on people’s rights to have access to a perfectly useful firearm. If there were no legitimate use for them, then why are they selling in the millions? There aren’t millions of murders or mass shootings. Clearly, here rifles are being used for other purposes.
Now let’s parse out their uses.
1) Hunting. You are ignorant, and have proven it with your comments. You don’t have the slightest idea how guns work. AR-15's are functionally no different than any of the “conventional guns” you have no problem with. They operate exactly the same. An AR-15 chambered in 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington (two interchangeable types of ammo, basically military surplus and regular stuff) is not legal for hunting whitetail deer because it is not powerful enough to kill them quickly and reliably. I have a .357 magnum revolver (which is legal for deer in my area) that has more muzzle energy (the scientific measure of a bullet’s power) than a .223 Remington bullet.
AR-15's are legal and popular for varmints (coyotes), pests (prairie dogs), and invasive species (feral hogs, but since hogs can be dangerous, most hunters prefer a more powerful cartridge for them).
I commend you for your archery skills. Would you go hunt three hundred pound feral hogs with it? They are an invasive species with a population of 6 million and they cause billions of dollars in damage every year, while also posing risks of passing diseases to domesticated pigs, and injuring people. They need to be eradicated. Every biologist agrees. Go get some, just don’t get gored or trampled since you need to be within fifty yards for your bow to be useful.
2) Defense. The AR platform can legally be either a rifle or a handgun (short barrel, no buttstock), which makes it extremely adaptable to any situation. It also has mounting points for things like flashlights, which aid in investigating suspicious activity at night, while reducing the chance of “friendly fire” because the room was dark. For home defense, special .223 frangible ammunition is available that could neutralize a human threat, but will not penetrate drywall (because it’s engineered to basically disintegrate on impact with surfaces harder than flesh). So the likelihood of collateral damage and injuring innocent bystanders is greatly reduced if one is put in the position of having to fire their gun inside their home. Also, the rifle’s light weight allows it to be carried everywhere, so it is useful for encounters with threatening, dangerous animals. Sometimes people need to be defended from animals. It happens, especially out in the country.
It is your right not to defend yourself or you home. It is not your right to say that someone else can’t.
3) Pests. Yes. Where I live there are pest problems. Coyotes eat domestic pets and livestock. An AR-15 will drop a coyote. See also, prairie dogs, groundhogs (woodchucks), opossums, raccoons, skunks, armadillos, squirrels, rabbits, foxes, snakes, rats, etc.
Do they require an AR-15? Absolutely not. But an AR-15 will do the job just fine if you’ve got one sitting around. Does a carpenter need power tools? AR-15’s are better than many other guns in fact, in various ways. (More powerful than a .22, more accurate than a shotgun, cheaper ammunition than a deer rifle [.243 caliber or larger], and so on…) But like everything, there are pro’s and con’s to each.
4) Competitive target shooting. More uninformed ignorance. You are mistaking semi-automatic rifles (AR-15's and dozens of others) for automatic rifles (like the military uses). There’s a difference that you’re not getting.
Here is a video of a woman shooting what’s known as “3 Gun”. 3 Gun is quickly becoming one of the most popular shooting competitions around, there are dozens and dozens of sanctioned matches (usually the United States Practical Shooting Association is the sanctioning body) every year. It’s a timed event, part shooting gallery, part obstacle course, that requires competitors to be proficient and quick using three different types of guns. The guns in the video are a semiautomatic AR style rifle, a semiautomatic shotgun, and a semiautomatic pistol. It’s like a two and half minute video, please watch it.
So how much stuff blew up? How deafening was the roar of that evil rifle?
Is it really so different from going to an archery range? (I’ve shot bows too, I know the practice is much different, but the careful aiming, the muscle memory, the stance, the concentration, all of those aspects are the same no matter whether you’re shooting a bow, an AR, or a basketball. It’s a skill.)
5) Recreation. We’re going to get you educated yet. The AR-15 is a civilian version of the military M16. What makes it a civilian version? It operates just the same as any other semi-automatic weapon that’s been on the market for the past 131 (yup! Since 1885!) years. It has no full auto, or three round burst firing options. One pull of the trigger fires a single bullet. Holding the trigger does nothing beyond firing the one bullet. It must be pressed, fully released, and pressed again to fire two shots in a row. It is specifically not a weapon of war, because no military uses them. They have better options.
Also, fun fact, fully automatic military grade weapons are legal and owned by private citizens right now. They cost several tens of thousands of dollars because of supply and demand, and they require special licensing from the ATF, but they are out there. And no legally obtained fully automatic weapon since the National Firearms Act went into effect in 1934 has ever been used in a crime despite them being the no-brainer choice for mass murder. (The NFA of course was passed to curb violent Gangster Era crime brought about by Prohibition. Consequences!)
Lastly, Eugene Stoner died in 1997 when the AWB was in effect. We’re now hearing from an anonymous source purporting to be his family, and purporting to know what he felt 20 years ago about a product that wasn’t legally available to citizens.
It might be true. Oppenheimer certainly regretted making the bomb. (Never mind the positive advancements that have been made out of nuclear research.) However, since the ban was lifted in September 2004, there have been almost ten million of the rifles sold. Have there been ten million mass shootings? Ten million total gun deaths, even? 35k (I’m erring on your side, mind you) times about 12 years… equals 420,000 total gun deaths compared to nearly 10 million “assault rifles” in private hands.
These things suck at killing. That’s a terrible ratio. 0.042 deaths per gun!
Sorry, no, I was being flippant and sensationalistic there. You say there are no valid uses for them, and yet they’re massively popular, and in 2014, per the FBI, only 2% of firearm homicides were committed with rifles. That’s any type of rifle, mind you, not just AR’s. They are not the gun of choice for the average criminal. There is no evidence to support that.
MAYBE, you could make a stronger argument if you got the powers that be to adjust the definition of a mass shooting to 10 or more victims. You might then be able to say that they are the gun of choice of mass shooters (I haven’t done that research, just speculating), but as things are now, that’s not even a valid statement since 89% of mass shootings have 4, 5, or 6 victims and could be accomplished with a standard six round capacity revolver. Which no one is pushing to ban. 98% of mass shootings have ten or fewer victims, and yet for some reason ten is the arbitrary number gun control advocates say is appropriate for magazine capacity.
And all this fuss is over 0.01% of the American population being shot or shooting themselves and dying each year. I’m not discounting them, it is important. The lives lost matter and we need to be better. But look at that number. 0.01% is objectively a tiny number. It equals 0.0001. That’s 1 in 10,000. The media wants you to believe you live in a bullet riddled hell-scape that you’ll never survive unless we ban guns. It’s all hyperbole. The problem is a problem, but it’s not nearly as bad as advertised when one looks at the big picture.
Changes should be made. Lots of them, but banning AR rifles is not going to help. I’d rather support something that matters and will make a positive difference than something that everyone will pat themselves on the back for accomplishing that has no effect.
Like this… This is what I’d do to improve background checks, and it doesn’t even have to get through Congress! It could just be done because it doesn’t add new laws to the books.
Full Disclosure: I am a college educated (B.A. In Philosophy, of all things) social liberal who voted for President Obama twice.medium.com
There are good ideas out there. Temporary gun owning restraining orders might help. Someone wants to form a registry, but encrypt it as a block chain so that the government could never use it against the population. I’m a little iffy on that, but it’s still better than banning these rifles again.
Now, if you’ve made it this far, I want to thank you. And I want to offer a sincere apology. I’m sorry if I’ve talked down to you, or said anything insulting. I know I can be condescending at times. I’m trying to have a genuine, civil discussion about a very important issue, but when you don’t come prepared (knowing the difference between automatic and semi-automatic) AND call my reasonable points “laughable”, you bring it on yourself. Most of your points are fallacies, conjecture, and opinions with no real facts or figures. You are clearly the one that is blinded by bias here. Even if I can’t change your mind, I at least want to show you the lies that you’re being fed.
I’m happy to engage further, and if you have questions or need clarification, I want to help. Let’s just keep it polite.