Editorial by IPR owner Warren Redlich. While some other IPR writers agree others may not.
In the wake of the Parkland school shooting the gun control leadership is going all out to ban modern rifles like the AR-15. It might seem completely irrational if you pay attention to facts, logic and public policy. But it makes sense if you understand their real motivation.
Let’s be clear who I’m talking about. I don’t mean your nice neighbor who’s upset about the shootings and has fallen for the incessant propaganda about the AR-15 magical demon gun. It’s the motivation of those behind the movement and the propaganda that are the focus of this article.
I should mention that third parties come into play on this issue. The Green Party supports banning so-called assault weapons, while the Libertarian Party generally opposes government restrictions of any kind.
The insiders’ focus on rifles makes no sense from a public policy standpoint. Rifles are rarely used in crimes. If banning guns actually saved lives the first type of gun they would focus on would be handguns, which are used to kill at least 20 times as many people as rifles. Don’t forget that the Virginia Tech shooter killed 33 people with two relatively low-power pistols.
Propaganda is extremely effective. I frequently see otherwise intelligent people make absurd statements like that the AR-15 shoots at a much higher rate than a regular handgun. Only a very brief amount of thought dispels this nonsense. The AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle. It fires one bullet for every pull of the trigger. The most common handguns, Glocks and 1911s, are also semi-automatic and fire one bullet for every pull of the trigger.
Part of the programmed messaging from the propagandists is the notion that the AR-15 is an automatic military rifle, a weapon of war, designed to kill large numbers of innocent people. There’s so much wrong with this.
The AR-15 is a downgrade from the true M-16 and M-4 military rifles to which it bears some similarity. Unlike those actual military rifles the AR-15 has no automatic fire capability. One pull of the trigger gets you one shot. That’s it. There’s no burst mode. It can’t go full auto where you hold the trigger down and it keeps firing.
The AR-15 is not designed to kill civilians at all. The main idea behind these rifles was for battlefield circumstances. The term “assault rifle” has nothing to do with assaulting a person. It comes from the German for “storm rifle” because this type of rifle was used to storm, or assault, a battlefield position.
The underlying reason why insiders hate the AR-15 and other rifles has nothing to do with crime or school shootings. The main advantage of rifles in general over pistols and shotguns is range.
Most people can make hit a head-sized target with a good rifle at 100 yards with just a few hours of training and practice. After a couple days of training that shooter can make head shots at 200 yards and head-and-torso shots at 400 yards.
Pistols are far less accurate. While competitive shooters do better, most average shooters with substantial experience struggle to hit torso targets consistently at 50 yards. Even 25 yards can be difficult for some. Shotguns do little better than pistols but 100 yards is about as far as most shooters go with them and with buckshot and birdshot 50-75 yards is about the limit of effective range.
So the key distinguishing feature of rifles is their accuracy and effectiveness at distance. That makes it harder for a battlefield enemy to advance on your position. This, of course, has little value in most mass shootings where the victims are often well within 25 yards of the shooter.
That gets to why the insiders hate such rifles. Their true distinguishing role in history is that they shift the balance of power away from big government. As Wired Magazine put it about the AR’s rival AK-47:
The AK … has fundamentally rewritten the rules of modern warfare, giving bands of moderately skilled fighters with few other resources the power to take on, and defeat, some of the best-resourced armies in the world.
The propagandists and their victims scoff that we could never defend ourselves against the full force of the US military with mere rifles. But of course that is exactly what happened in Vietnam and continues to happen in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other parts of the world.
Any state military can take on opponents armed with mere handguns and shotguns because the government riflemen can make precision shots from 100 yards without fear from the short ranged weapons left in the hands of the populace. But when the people have rifles and can hit targets at 400 yards or more, it becomes far harder to subdue them.
If they do take away our modern semi-auto rifles, their next grab will be for long-range rifles like those that shoot .50 BMG and .338 Lapua. A well trained marksman with the right rifle can kill a target at 1000 yards or even farther. In such a world it’s very difficult for governments to keep tyrants (and their minions and cronies) safe. The AR-15 can hit targets at that distance but loses about 90% of its relatively low energy (among rifles) so it can hit but generally won’t kill.
The propagandists will scoff that our government would never come for us. Pay no attention to the history behind the curtain, democides by governments, or the government conspiracies to attack our own people. Don’t worry about their massive government debts and money printing binges. They’ll tell you it can’t happen here.
They’re right – as long as we have modern rifles. And that’s why they want to take them.