Earlier this week, I came across an article all about why the AR-15 wasn’t for home defense. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t written by someone who understands firearms. It was written by someone who is apparently terrified by the idea of private citizens having an effective, lightweight means of defense, and her arguments proved it.
So, I thought I’d take a minute and show you just how wrong this whole mess is. It’s an older article, but I have little doubt it’s fueling more than a few discussions, even today.
1. The AR-15 Was Designed For Military Use
In 1957, the United States Army asked Armalite to produce a lighter-weight rifle capable of piercing “both sides of a standard Army helmet at 500 meters,” according to the AR-15 website. After extensive research on the effectiveness of weapons in war and how those weapons injured soldiers, the AR-15 was created to be an efficient rifle that could cause mass amounts of damage quickly. In the 1960s, the AR-15 became known as the M-16.
First, the fact that the weapon was developed for military use is irrelevant. GPS was developed for military use too, but no one thinks twice about using it to find a Starbucks.
Second, the history isn’t even right. The Army never asked Armalite for anything. Armalite developed the weapon because the Army wanted it, but they weren’t the only one in consideration. It still took years to get the military to buy it, years where they were marketed to civilians instead. It wasn’t until Colt bought the design that Uncle Sam gave the right the go ahead.
But again, that’s irrelevant. The reasons the military adopted it are some of the very same reasons it’s ideal for home defense. Saying it was designed for military use is neither here nor there.
2. The AR-15 Wastes Ammunition
If you are going to use a gun as your first line of defense, do you want a gun that sprays bullets everywhere in rapid succession? The “assault” part of assault rifle describes the deadliness of the AR-15. In his piece for Slate, Peters noted the AR-15 can fire up to 45 rounds per minute. If you are attempting to use this gun for self-defense if someone is attacking you and your family, it’s not the best move; bullets are going to be flying everywhere, and the potential to hit a family member, a neighbor, a pet, or even yourself seems dangerously high.
Here, we see that someone has confused the AR-15 with the M4.
The AR-15 only fires one round per trigger pull. You may waste ammo, but it’s because you’re pulling the trigger too much.
Just because it can fire 45 rounds per minute doesn’t mean it will. That number is based on a full mag dump as fast as the weapon can cycle. Most people aren’t going to bump fire the thing at a burglar, so the argument is irrelevant.
3. The AR-15 Is A Vanity Rifle
One of the reasons that the AR-15 is popular is because it can be endlessly customized — never mind that the ease of customization can lead to owners unwittingly violating state laws. Holding a rifle that can fire 45 rounds per minute is certainly going to make a person feel powerful, but is it actually making them safer? No. The AR-15 is a weapon that gun owners can brag about owning, but its usefulness in self-protection is questionable at best.
So, point three says nothing at all?
Sure, an AR-15 can be modified into illegality, but that doesn’t make it a “vanity rifle,” whatever the hell that means. It just means some people are unfamiliar with state laws. However, it’s also worth noting that most sellers of accessories won’t ship products to states where they’re illegal. So, basically, that point is a big nothingburger.
As for anything else “made” in this point, she’s arguing by assertion. She says its so;, but she hasn’t presented any new evidence that she’s right. Based on the other “evidence” she’s presented, I bet I know why.
4. The Odds Of An AR-15 Or Any Gun Being Used For Home Defense Are Low
The idea that if good people have guns then everyone will be safe is simply ridiculous. Whether you have an AR-15 or a pistol in your home, the chances of you ever using it for home defense are minuscule. In 2012, the Violence Policy Center released data that revealed only 259 justified homicide cases (i.e. when people killed others in self-defense) were confirmed in the United States. In contrast there were 1.2 million violent crimes in 2012.
Even more alarming? The LA Times reported there was just “one justifiable killing for every 32 murders, suicides or accidental deaths (the ratio increases to 38-1 over the five-year period ending in 2012).” With that data in mind, would having an assault rifle in your home honestly make you feel any safer?
Wow. What’s with this fascination will killing people. She should get help.
Defensive use of a firearm doesn’t require killing anyone. A shot that misses or even the sight of a gun sends many criminals running. Further, the numbers she’s quoting don’t cover any woundings, which should at least be considered, especially since estimates for defensive uses of a firearm vary, but are typically on par with the citation of violent crimes.
It’s especially worth noting that many of those violent crimes were perpetrated with some weapon other than a gun, meaning a firearm is used more often to defend life than threaten it.
Even if we ignore all that, so what? The odds of me using my fire extinguisher are pretty low too, but I still have it. You see, when it comes to protecting my family’s life, I don’t play the odds, particularly when I had to use a firearm to protect my family’s home once. Statistically, my having to pull a gun once makes me all but immune to needing to do so again, but statistics also said I’d probably never need to draw.
I don’t bet my wife’s and kids’ lives on statistics.
5. The AR-15 Is Powerful Enough To Pierce Body Armor
Mark and Jackie Barden, the parents of David Barden, one of the children who was murdered in Sandy Hook, are among the plaintiffs trying to hold the gun manufacturers accountable for selling AR-15s to civilians in the Soto et. al v. Bushmaster case. The Bardens penned an op-ed for the Washington Post in early 2016, in which they wrote, “The last thing our sweet little Daniel would have seen in his short, beautiful life was the long barrel of a ferocious rifle designed to kill the enemy in war. The last thing Daniel’s tender little body would have felt were bullets expelled from that AR-15 traveling at greater than 3,000 feet per second — a speed designed to pierce body armor in the war zones of Fallujah.”
To bring a weapon into your home — or anywhere — that is powerful enough to be used on a battlefield is not a rational response to self defense, but a highly dangerous move.
Oh, so a couple of parents grieving over the loss of their children are a valid source for data?
Look, the 5.56 round is blocked by Level III body armor, which is at least equivalent to what our troops wear. In fact, Level III can stop .308 rounds, which have far more punch than the relatively wimpy 5.56.
Where things change is if you’re using armor-piercing ammunition. Since that’s hardly a common round and is technically illegal to sell, though not necessarily illegal to possess, it’s a moot point.
In other words, this is a bogus claim based on information from people who aren’t knowledgeable on firearms in the least.
What. A. Shock.
But that’s what passes for intelligent discourse on anti-gun websites. These very same arguments keep popping up in social media discussions, but they’re all a bunch of nonsense. They only work if you accept them at face value and trust the “research” provided. Since that “research” is, at best, laughable, this may be the most ridiculous anti-gun article I’ve ever read.
I applaud them for it. It takes a great deal of…something to go out and spout such nonsense with the unflappable air of arrogance that expects it all to be taken at face value.
I’m not even mad. That’s amazing.
But it’s still ridiculous.