What Drives The Left-Wing Obsession With AR-15s?

The Umpqua Community College murderer had a Del-Ton AR-15 in his possession, but did not use it in his attack.

The New York Times published a story this morning entitled How They Got Their Guns, purporting to show how eight of the last 14 mass shooters obtained the firearms used in their killing sprees.


Curiously, they chose to lead the article by showing a Del-Ton AR-15 carbine that was carried, but not fired by the murderer during the Umpqua Community College attack. In a footnote to the article, the authors note:

The handguns used by C__________ H_____-M_____* are omitted because information about the models has not been made public.

The authors are claiming that it wouldn’t be fair to provide a photo of the Glock, Smith & Wesson, or Taurus handguns carried by the attacker—only the Glock was fired—because they couldn’t pin down the exact model used. Del-ton makes 17 models of rifles, but that didn’t keep the Times from arbitrarily grabbing one and using it to assert (visually) that it was the weapon used in the attack.

This follows a long and heavily-documented pattern in the mainstream media and the Democrat Party of obsessing over and against the civilian ownership of intermediate-caliber, semi-automatic carbines and rifles with detachable magazines, despite the fact that they are very rarely used in mass murders, spree killings, or any crimes at all, for that matter.

If we look at long-term data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, violent crime is on a long-term decline (down 39% as of 2011), even as gun ownership (as roughly represented by a dramatic increase in FBI NICS background checks over time) has spread across almost all demographic divides.

Gun ownership and use in target shooting has dramatically increased among young, urban, and female shooters in recent years, leading to an increase in the demand for new firing ranges and even new kinds of posh, urban country-club-type shooting ranges dubbed “guntry clubs.” This demand has also led increase in the type and complexity of courses among shooting schools to cater to ever-more-savvy and better-trained citizen shooters demanding new challenges across a wide range of firearms, primarily focused on semi-automatic handguns and increasingly, semi-automatic carbines such as AR-15s and AKM-pattern rifles.


Citizen demand in particular for AR-15 pattern rifles is especially high in recent years, for the most practical of reasons.

AR-15 rifles are very modular in nature. Depending on the needs and desires of the owner, an AR-15 can be set up in a wide range of configurations.

AR-15-style rifles are common among competition shooters, using iron sights or optics depending upon the kind of competition.

Competition shooter Jules with her 15-pound AR-15 National Match target rifle, “Thor” in long-range precision shooting events from fixed positions with iron sights.
Professional shooter Lena Miculek uses an AR-15 in 3-Gun competitions. Image via 3-Gun Nation.
Professional shooter Lena Miculek uses a lightweight AR-15 in 3-Gun competition at short to medium ranges. Her AR-15 weighs 1/2 to 1/3 of “Thor.” Image via 3-Gun Nation.

Others prefer a scoped AR-15 with a heavy barrel for medium-to-long range target shooting or small game hunting.

An AR-15 target rifle from AR-15.com forum poster Westford86.
An AR-15 target rifle from AR-15.com forum poster Westford86.

AR-15 variants are increasingly common in medium and large game hunting as well, as long as long-range target shooting.

A Nemo Arms “Omen” in .300 Winchester Magnum is capable of long-range target shooting or hunting the largest of North American game animals. Image via galleryhip.com.
A Daniel Defense "Ambush" in 6.8 SPC caliber is purpose-designed for deer and other medium-sized North American game.
An Ambush Firearms 6.8 SPC caliber AR-15 is purpose-designed for deer and other medium-sized North American game. This one was featured in Deer & Deer Hunting.

AR-15s are also commonly chosen as self-defense/home-defense firearms, and many professional firearms instructors and coaches recommend the AR-15 because it offers low recoil, a standard-capacity 20-0r 30-round magazine, and can be used with bullets that fragment more readily and pose less of a risk of over-penetration compared to most common defensive pistol and shotgun cartridges.

A home defense AR-15 set-up with a white light for target discrimination and a red-dot sight for target acquisition. Image via Personal Defense World.
A home defense AR-15 set-up with a white light for target discrimination and a red-dot sight for target acquisition. Image via Personal Defense World.

And of course, the AR-15 is well-known as the “modern musket,” particularly well-suited above all other firearms for the purpose of contemporary militia use.

When the Founding Fathers spoke of a “well-regulated” militia, they did not mean “regulations” as in restrictions. They clearly used the then-common term “well-regulated” to mean something “in a state of proper working order.”

In the late 20th Century and early 21st Century, no other firearm better helps the modern unorganized militia (literally, everyone nor currently serving who could be drafted to serve or volunteer in military or militia service) than the AR-15.

AR-15s are the "modern musket" for contemporary militiamen. According to U.S. federal law, the modern militia is nearly everyone capable of being called to serve as a draftee or a volunteer. Photo via Defense Review.
AR-15s are the “modern musket” for contemporary militiamen. According to U.S. federal law, the modern militia is nearly everyone capable of being called to serve as a draftee or a volunteer. Photo via Defense Review.

AR-15s share a great degree of parts commonality with real assault rifles (military M4 carbines and M16s capable that can select between one shot per trigger pull and burst modes or fully automatic fire), including using the same magazines and 5.56 NATO ammunition, so that modern militamen can bring their own firearms if needed, and use spare parts, magazines, and ammunition from government stockpiles as needed.

The five million (or more) AR-15s in civilian hands more than doubles the number of those belonging to the U.S. government in the military and in federal law enforcement… and that is perhaps the real reason entities such as the Democrat Party and their allies in the mainstream media are so intent on targeting them with bans and restrictions, even though rifles of all kinds have been used in less than 300 homicides a year—a number that steadily, I must add—in a nation of 320 million.


We live in a time and in a nation where the two dominant political parties differ significantly only in the rate at which they are attempting to usurp individual liberties.

The left wing of the Democrat Party in particular is insistent that the federal government must intrude more deeply and have more control over every aspect of our lives.

As they seek to usurp individual liberties and given even more power to government, their greatest single fear is that We, the People, may resist their relentless drive towards tyranny with the force of arms, overthrow the existing government, and return to constitutional principles.

Gun control supporters are nearly universally supporters of big government and when they ask angrily, “why do you need an ‘assault rifle?'” we need to answer, quite bluntly, “to keep people like you from plunging this nation into tyranny.

The right to keep and bear arms has never been about hunting or sport.

The Second Amendment was written by men who had just won a long and bloody revolution against a tyrannical government that had demanded control over every aspect of their lives. They fervently believed that every man had a pre-existing natural right to bear arms arms of contemporary military utility to check government power.

Amusingly (or perhaps sadly), anti-gun Democrats now attempt to use the argument that our modern military is so advanced, with drones, stealth fighters, tanks and missiles that the citizenry couldn’t possibly stand against the equipment and manpower that would-be tyrants in the District of Columbia may use against the people.


They argue that our military and police would overwhelm a rebellious citizenry in a crushing defeat.

They could not be more wrong.

* * *

The military of the United States is composed of roughly 1.3 million active duty servicemen and women and another 800,000 reserves. Combined with local, state, and federal law enforcement officers numbering roughly 800,000 more, they represent a potential government force of roughly 3 million souls that the federal government would want to call upon to put down any challenges to their power.

Of course, anyone who has served in the military or law enforcement knows that only a fraction of those serving are in combat arms, and have experience with weapons and tactics. Most servicemen aren’t in infantry, cavalry, or armored units as front-line fighters. There are far more clerks, administrators, truck drivers and mechanics than their are “fighting men” in the U.S. military. In a combined active duty/reserve force, there are less than 100,000 who have actual combat arms jobs where they use firearms and small unit tactics as part of their core competencies.

That’s not nearly enough to take and hold ground in a nation of 320 million people and 3,794,100 squares miles.

In a fourth-generation rebellion—which is the kind of conflict a near-term revolution would be—you would not have rebel trenches and troop positions for drones, tanks, artillery and fighter aircraft to exploit. You’d instead encounter a war that would be a death by a million shallow cuts, a conflict of individual assassinations, and hit-and-run small unit raids and ambushes by tiny units no larger than a “lone wolf,” fireteam or squad that would quickly melt into the surrounding civilian population after an attack.


In such a rebellion, the federal government would also face the nightmare of a significant number of their most elite units turning against them. American servicemen swear an oath to defend the Constitution, not a particular government, and certainly not a specific President or political party.

In specific, the U.S. Army’s Green Berets are likely to turn upon a rogue government, and they said as much in 2013 in a subtle warning in am open letter to President Barack Obama when he first signaled his desire for an all-out attack on the Second Amendment after Sandy Hook. More than 1,100 active duty and retired Special Forces soldiers pledged to oppose what they view as an unconstitutional attack on the right to bear arms. It must be noted, soberly, that the primary mission of these elite soldiers for over 50 years is training local populations to overthrow governments, and they’d be training tens to hundreds of thousands of America’s 100 million gun owners.

The government’s advantage in fighter jets, bombers, and tanks would be rendered moot.

This is why anti-gun liberals push for universal background checks, in order create a de facto (and illegal) registry of firearms owners, so they can build an enemies list of gun owners to target for confiscation efforts.

This is why leftist totalitarians are so intent on banning standard capacity magazines, and those modern firearms most clearly beneficial to a modern militia, even those those magazines and firearms are not used in crimes to a statistically significant degree.

It isn’t about stopping massacres.

It isn’t about saving lives.


It’s about setting the stage for tyranny, and protecting the government from a people who would remain free.



* Bearing Arms does not publish the names of mass or spree killers.

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