The AR-15: Today's Media Scapegoat

The AR-15: Today’s Media Scapegoat

Contrary to what you may have inferred from the mainstream media, Custer and the 7th Cavalry were not massacred by Sioux warriors wielding AR-15s, nor did Lee Harvey Oswald employ one to assassinate J.F.K. And, as of this writing, there has never been a verified report of an AR-15 jumping off the rack at a gun store and going on a murderous rampage by itself. There’s always be a human being involved.

While the AR-15 is commonly referred to as an “assault rifle,” it’s not. Assault rifles are military rifles, like the Kalashnikov (AK-47) or the U.S. Armed Forces M-16. And they are automatics, meaning that holding the trigger down provides a continuous spray of bullets until the ammo runs out. With the AR-15, one trigger pull equals one shot, and only one shot. It’s a semi-automatic.

What’s in a Name, Anyway?

It’s common for people to believe that the A.R. in AR-15, stands for Assault Rifle. It doesn’t. Nor does it stand for Automatic Rifle, or Army Rifle.. The “A.R.” in AR-15 stands for Armalite Rifle, after the rifle’s original inventor, Armalite. Today, several other manufacturers make basically the same rifle, which is why the term “AR-15 type rifle” is often used.

Ignorance is Bliss

The AR-15 was invented to serve three purposes: hunting, target shooting, and home/business defense. It never has been and never will be suitable for modern combat.. This has not stopped politicians from demagoguery when characterizing it:

  • Senator Dick Blumenthal (D–C.T.) claiming that it is “an assault weapon that can kill people with the efficiency and speed meant for the battlefield.”
  • Congressman David N. Cicilline (D–R.I.), who alleges the AR-15 is an “assault weapon…designed…to kill as many people as possible in as short an amount of time as possible.”
  • Senator Chris Murphy (D–C.T.): “Military-style assault rifles were designed to kill as many people as quickly as possible. Period.”
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein (D–C.A.): “It’s time to reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban and get these weapons of war out of our communities.”

The AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle that was developed for civilian use. It is not a weapon of war.

Who Needs Facts?

In a headline article of a recent issue of Newsweek, the magazine declared that 26 Percent of the last 80 mass shootings involved AR-15s. Two points: first, that means that 74 Percent of the last 80 mass shootings did NOT involve an AR-15; second, why draw the line at the last 80 mass shootings? What happens if we factor in additional incidents?

According to Statista, the most serious culprit in mass shootings turns out to be handguns, which were used in a whopping 78 percent of the mass shootings reported between 1982 and 2021. And the Statista figures pertain to rifles, without singling out the AR-15.

More Guns, More Crime, or…?

More mentally disturbed people walking our streets? We don’t have time or space to do a psychological survey of recent mass shooters, but, it’s pretty clear that a large percentage of the perpetrators were suffering from psychological disorders or actual mental infirmities.

Most anti-gun activists point to Japan as proof that fewer guns equal less crime, but Japan has a rate of psychiatric institutionalization roughly ten times higher than the U.S.A. And let’s not forget the Tokyo subway Sarin gas attack. Evil, whether emanating from the sound or deranged mind, will find a way to manifest itself.

Conclusion

The bottom line is this: if AR-15s are banned, the real victims will be lawful gun owners. And will mass killings stop? Doubtful. Would banning all guns, knives, blackjacks, and billy clubs stop all mass killings? Doubtful. As long as the mentally unstable are walking the streets, mass killings will continue. Keeping weapons like AR-15s out of their hands, not taking them away from law-abiding citizens, will go a long way toward solving America’s “gun problem.”