You don’t need an AR-15

We can’t watch the news very long the last few days without getting angry or depressed.  The politicization of the mass shooting in Newtown by both sides is disgusting.  The media coverage is manipulative and exploitative.  That said, the debate about gun control and the 2nd amendment is on.

A lot of people have changed their opinions.  Not me.  I haven’t understood why a civilian needs assault weapons for years.  I don’t agree with those who interpret the Second Amendment as rationale to acquire military hardware.  The combination of the Columbine massacre and my own experience shooting these kinds of weapons (in a legal, controlled environment) solidified this opinion. To repeat the title of this post:  you don’t need an AR-15.  They need to be restricted to the military and specialized police units, period.

I have a lot of friends and relatives who own lots of guns.  Some of them likely have semi-auto assault weapons like the AR-15.  If you engage these folks in conversation about shooting these weapons, the consensus is this:  they’re fun to shoot.  Emptying an extended clip downrange and shredding a target in seconds is fun.  But I submit to you that the sense of enjoyment and satisfaction the average civilian may get from these weapons is not worth the associated risk factors.  Specifically, the more of these weapons that are available in the general populace, the more likely something like Newtown happens.  Or Aurora.  Or Virginia Tech. Or Columbine.

It’s not worth it.

You can protect your home or business with a handgun or shotgun or a hunting rifle.  And please don’t give me the scenario of Katrina looters or the L.A. riots and Korean business owners.  I heard that twice yesterday and it’s bunk.  A shotgun will deter looters or rioters just as well as an AR-15.  And if not, well – you assume your own risk when you open a business in the inner city or stay behind to defend your home in the wake of disaster.  This risk equation, of maybe an assault rifle deters someone in some situation doesn’t balance with the side of potential for mass murder by disturbed people.

The hardline NRA platform is to challenge any restriction to firearms ownership.  That needs to change.  We are going to have this conversation now, as a country and individually.  People need to re-examine their stances and do some introspection on the why and where of their 2nd Amendment beliefs.   I’m a supporter of the right to bear arms for self-protection.  I think concealed carry is a good idea (but we need a single national standard that’s rigorous on background checks and education, and cost prohibitive).  But I also believe we have way too many guns available in this country.  Quite the paradox, no?

I look forward to individual conversations with my friends and family who may disagree with me here.  Because I’m not going to let this go.  Too many of us have just shrugged our shoulders and said, ‘this problem is too hard’ for too long.

We’ll get back to our regular lighter blogging fare presently.

3 thoughts on “You don’t need an AR-15

  1. Scott – my comment might be moot as I am not an American nor live in the United States, but taking AR-15’s (or any similar military style gun) off the market is not going to stop or prevent this type of massacre. If this person had two Remington 870’s with 00 buckshot and a couple 9mm pistol with 10 round clips – the result would have been the same. He’s shooting at unarmed women and young children.

    Another point – he didn’t buy these guns. His mother did. Background checks, firearm courses, licenses and regulatory fees would have done nothing to prevent this tragedy since Lanza’s mother readily made firearms available to her son – which from I have read lately had a history of mental illness. It was her responsibility to ensure these guns were under lock and key.

    I honestly can’t offer you a solution – except its all in or walk away. If you want to stop mass public shootings through gun control, you either have to take away all firearms from the public – or look at something else. But I don’t think that removing AR-15’s from Walmart is going change anything.


  2. I am a avid gun enthusiast and own several weapons from hand guns to shotguns to even the evil AR-15. That being said I have to agree with you on one statement. I don’t believe that I have a “need” for a AR-15. While I am proficient with all my firearms I can’t say that I really have a “need” for any of them other than peace of mind and recreation. I have no more a need for it than the everyday citizen has for a vehicle, alcohol, cable tv or any of the host of other things that we have as luxuries that we could do without if push came to shove. The problem I have is when someone tells me that I can’t have something because someone else messed up. I should not be punished for someone else making a mistake. Take for instance a car. Do you honestly think that if a drunk driver got behind the wheel and ran a school bus off the road killing 20 elementary school children, that people or even the government would consider banning cars or even alcohol. Can you imagine the outrage from the public if they tried. Imagine if tomorrow the goverment said sorry we passed legislation that forbids travel due to this tragedy. You would be pissed cause who are they to tell you you cant drive when you didnt do anything wrong. I agree there should be tougher laws towards getting a firearm and I’m ok with that cause I know that wont affect me, but taking away something of mine when I have done nothing wrong is wrong in itself.

    • Part of being a responsible member of a community or a society is understanding when to make sacrifices for the good of the community. If that means you have to give up the personal satisfaction and sense of enjoyment you get from owning and shooting an AR-15 in order to lessen the number of these weapons that are available and eventually in the hands of criminals or the unstable – that’s what I’m advocating.

      It’s just like you don’t smoke in a restaurant (in most states) or airplanes anymore. It’s bad for the rest of us.

      And no, I don’t agree that the 2nd Amendment gives anyone the right to keep and bear any weapons they want.

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