"Why Do You Need an AR15?"
Editor's Note: Today's feature first appeared in our companion service, The Shooting Wire (www.shootingwire.com).
I hope this doesn't require a "trigger alert," but it's a Smith & Wesson M&P15. It's not a weapon of war, just a sample for an article. Parts, including magazines, are common for the ca-50 year old design making it a sensible firearm for defense and use around the farm -- and hunting too.
The refrain being heard in response to the outrage in Orlando is "why do you need 'assault weapons?'" Our response is too quickly a technical one. Part of that is due to the fact that there are around 100 million gun owners in the United States according to Big Media – no friends to the Bill of Rights – and a good many of us expect people know the deal.
There was push-back early in the "Gun Salesman of the Decade's" regime renaming the piece as a "modern sporting rifle." While more accurate that the silly term coined by "Violence Policy Center's" gun prohibitionist Josh Sugarmann, some in the community felt it was as much marketing by our side as theirs.
According to NSSF, the VPC considers the "assault weapon" term to be more than ambiguous. I just figured it was a way to continue widening the gun ban tent by making any gun they considered "dangerous" illegal. Sugarmann's own statement tells the tale – "The public's confusion over fully-automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons -- anything that looks like a machine gun is presumed to be a machine gun -- can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons."
Nope, still not a "weapon of war." The short, duty style "M4-gery" is shown here on a varmint hunt for prairie rats.
Like ATF's Fast & Furious, it's an attempt to change public opinion by use of propaganda, something used with chilling effectiveness in early-mid 20th Century Europe. Now they've specifically targeted the generic AR15.
There are people who only know what they know from entertainment – TV and movie dramas or the political speech that is clearly more for entertainment than serious public policy. When the presumptive Democrat nominee refers to firearms owned by literally millions
of US citizens as "weapons of war" that "have no business on our streets" – raising the issue of the police patrol rifle or US Secret Service firearms that have protected her and her family for decades – that's not a public policy pronouncement. That's propaganda.
NRA News released a video
of Dom Raso, a former U.S. Navy Seal, entitled "The AR-15: Americans' Best Defense Against Terror and Crime." In it, he explains why he thinks that the gun control crowd is all wet – and it's an effective use of video.
Meanwhile, I saw a snippet of video from the Senate Theater from Monday evening. I don't know who the Senator was, but he was pontificating with the language of a "seminar caller."
If you've listened to any talk radio, you know the "seminar caller." This worthy, likely paid less than the Seattle minimum wage, calls radio shows and starts off with "I agree with you almost always until . . ." The rest is canned, right off a script.
Not all "weapons of war" are created equal. This is the Smith & Wesson Performance Center M&P15, a tight shooting hunter's gun.
The Senator in question started out with the standard line – and this is paraphrased simply because I won't watch it again to transcribe it: "I grew up with guns, around guns all my life. I hunted with guns, I have a number of guns."
He points to a display of the SIG MCX and an AR-15, "But they're not like these
are for killing," he says ominously.
Uh, what? You're a hunter and your guns . . . don't kill? What, did you get a "catch and release" deer tag from DNR?
That's how stupid it's gotten. So, when a more-or-less innocent bystander asks why you "need an AR15," your response, already formed by the insanity of politicians out for an election win and Big Media that's dying on the vine from the loss of influence they've had up until the age of social media, is a sharp one. And that's not helpful.
First, you're not going to change anyone's mind. They know the subliminal messages they saw on movies like the "Lethal Weapon" series. They get the prohibitionist message from TV dramas like "Law and Order." They only know what they know – and they don't know what they don't.
Next, the AR-15, in one form or another, has been on public sale since the late 1950s/early 1960s. A Colt "Sporter" ad from the mid-1960s, one I saw for real in a gun magazine when I was in junior high school, recently resurfaced on the internet. Call it fifty years – and now
it's a problem? What's changed?
The rise of "weaponized" extremists perhaps? The death of custodial mental health care – that began in around 1979? The sad fact that when they could target our military on their home grounds, they didn't bother us here? It's certainly not the rifle. Aside from cosmetics, modularity and rifling rate of twist, nothing's changed.
As a practical matter, AR15s are
used for hunting, but that's not the point. I went on a number of enjoyable varmint hunts using that very class of firearm. They are also good defensive tools. Unlike the shotgun, nearly anyone at home can use them effectively for defense.
That's due to the relative lack of recoil and stocks that can quickly and easily be adjusted for length of pull to fit everyone from Uncle Joe to Cousin Tammy. We currently have more people in the society who've used the "machine gun" version in military service than we ever had before – thanks to tensions in SW Asia.
Me? I like lever action revolver-caliber carbines – but I've used the AR-15 quite a bit. I know a gent who bought a Colt Sporter AR15 in 1970 – they've been around that long.
The AR-15 type rifle is America's Rifle. It's been in service in one or another form longer than any other military rifle – like the 1873 Springfield 45-70, the M1903/03A3, 1917 Enfield, the M1 Rifle, M1 Carbine – or the M14, still made as the M1A. It's no more – or less – a weapon of war than the Brown Bess.
There's your answer.
-- Rich Grassi