Your right to own an AR-15, an AK, or any other semi-automatic rifle is a natural right, and is protected by the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution. The Supreme Court has affirmed that it is your right as an individual to own and bear such weapons, and without due process, NO one should ever have that right revoked or threatened.
Even so, with every new tragic, and senseless mass killing, the call to take these weapons from the hands of law-abiding citizens is renewed. The motives that drive those killers to commit these sick actions may be varied, but the blame is always squarely misplaced on the weapon used. While our Justice system is still beginning it’s investigation, the court of political opinion leaps to convict the AR-15 as the culprit.
That political outrage always leads to this recurring question… “Why does anyone need an AR-15?”. Some ask the question sincerely, but many don’t. The legal answers affirming, and protecting your rights never seem to satisfy. Educational graphics describing hunting rifles that operate virtually the same as AR-15’s are barely noticed. And stories of actual people using their rifles for justified self protection are quickly forgotten.
I don’t know how to convince someone who has made up their mind against civilian ownership of these guns. But for those who have yet to decide, and genuinely want a principled, logical answer... let me explain in three short sentences, why someone would need an AR-15.
1st: Everyone has a right to self defense. 2nd: Firearms are the most effective means of self defense. 3rd: The AR-15 is the modern standard in defensive firearms.
This formula tells you very simply why I think all law abiding people should be free to own an AR-15, but let me expound in greater detail what all this means to me.1st: Everyone has the right to defend their life.
If you’re alive, you have a right to keep yourself that way, which means you have the right to defend your life. It’s your natural right to protect yourself against harm, against intrusion, against any sort of physical violence. And if threatened with deadly force, you have the right to respond with deadly force. I can’t think of a more basic place to start in this discussion, nor a more common truth. Simply put… Everyone has the right to self defense.2nd: Firearms are the most effective means of self defense.
In terms of what a single person can manage and use, there’s just no weapon more effective than a gun. Certainly more primitive weapons are deadly—history has proven this, but none are as quick to employ, or as easy to use as guns. We all want to avoid using lethal force against an attacker, and if we can avoid it we absolutely should. But no one gets to choose what kind of threat they’re presented with, or when or where that threat occurs. Robberies, Assaults, Home Invasions, Mass Shootings, etc… they do happen, and there’s no telling if they might happen to you. The only question is, will you be prepared for it?
The city of Houston, TX recently witnessed a broad-daylight attack when a man shot up a car on the East Freeway, killing both occupants. When the shooter turned his attention to a witness, that witness drew his own gun and fired on the attacker. The man fled the scene, and no one else was killed. Just a day before that, a man went on a random stabbing spree in Garden Grove, CA, killing 4 and injuring 2. He was stopped when police drew their guns and forced him to the ground. The recent, and tragic mass shooting in Dayton, OH, in which 9 people were killed, was stopped in 32 seconds, because several police officers, who miraculously were nearby, fired on the shooter almost as soon as he opened fire. When deadly force is used, often deadly force is needed to stop it, and a competent “good guy” with a gun is the quickest way to end the threat and save lives.
The Mayor of New York knows that guns save lives, or at least that they can protect HIS life. Bill DeBlasio, who surrounds himself with armed guards, recently justified his anti-gun stance by arguing that New York police are sufficient to protect civilians from criminals, so there’s no reason the Citizens of New York should have guns. But New York City is not Dayton, OH, and as the saying goes, “when seconds count, the police are minutes away”. Anti-gun politicians surround themselves with guns, and then strip their citizens of their natural right to protect themselves. It’s an unequal, two-tiered system, and it’s wrong.
Speaking of equality, the quickest way to put a potential victim of violence on equal footing with their attacker is to allow them to have a gun. Guns truly are the “great equalizer”. A 95 lb woman with a revolver can easily fight off a 300 lb man. Disparities of weight and strength mean nothing when the defender is armed with a gun. Don’t we want more Defenders, and fewer Victims? As a husband of a wonderful wife, and father of a young daughter, I certainly do. Everyone has the right to protect their life, and having a firearm is the most effective means of doing that.
3rd: The AR-15 is the modern standard in defensive firearms. The AR-15, or Armalite Rifle 15 was introduced in 1959, as a smaller, lighter version of the AR-10. Standard versions of the rifle use the intermediate 5.56x45 nato cartridge, as well as the .223 Remington, which is noted for its accuracy and versatility at intermediate distances. The M16, M4, etc, are the US Military’s select-fire versions of the gun, which can be classified as true assault rifles. In it’s civilian form, the AR-15 only mimics the look and feel of an assault rifle, without sharing it’s fully-automatic functionality.
Since its introduction, the AR-15 has become the nation’s most popular rifle, for hunting, home security, sporting, and more. The 1994 assault weapons ban halted manufacturing of the rifle, but after it was lifted in 2004, and studies found that the ban had no impact on homicide rates, AR-15’s became more popular than ever. Today many, many gun manufacturers build their own version of the rifle along with a huge array of parts and components for it.
The rifle’s popularity is owed to it’s modularity, it’s ergonomics, it’s versatility, reliability and accuracy. Now that it’s so common, and widely made, it is also extremely affordable, with brand new, very basic versions of the gun selling for around $350. In my opinion, the AR-15 is America’s gun, and should be as ubiquitous today as the flintlock musket was at the time this country was founded.
Throughout time, free men have borne weapons—in their home, on the hunt, and at times of war. The nature of those weapons changed with advancing technology. Spears, bows and swords gave way to bayonets, muskets, and flintlock pistols. Today’s auto-loading rifles and pistols are the new standard in firearms, and just as important now as muskets were back then. If the 1st Amendment covers cell-phones, internet, and streaming movies… not only quills and parchment, then the 2nd Amendment by the same logic must cover modern firearms.
My emphasis on the importance of modern rifles should not seen as belittling modern handguns. As concealable, stowable, and handy as they are, pistols are a critical tool for self defense in close quarters, and in public places. That said, a pistol is basically a broken, shortened, less capable rifle. I would even say that a pistol is to a rifle what a knife is to a pistol. To truly be armed today means to have a modern rifle, and the standard modern rifle in America is the AR-15.
All you AK guys, don’t get mad. I’ve got plenty of respect for other platforms. Also, let me reemphasize that no one should feel required to own a gun, but every law-abiding American should feel secure in their right to buy, keep, and carry one if they choose. When it comes to semi-auto rifles like the AR-15, you should definitely own one if you’re willing, because it’s the modern standard in defensive firearms, because firearms are the best means of self defense, and because self defense is your natural right.