The AR-15 is Not the Problem – New Laws are Not the Solution

With all the talk about Guns lately, specifically the AR-15, I have some thoughts about this.


First off, let’s clarify what we are talking about when we talk about the AR-15.  The AR-15 stands for “Armalite Rifle model 15”.  It is (in it’s stock form) a 223 caliber (same as a 22 rifle with a bit more powder behind the bullet) SEMI-automatic ( 1 trigger pull, one bullet comes out) rifle that LOOKS like it’s military counterpart, the M-16.   That is where the problem is.   The M-16 A1 was a FULL automatic (meaning machine gun) select fire gun.  The A2, A3 and A4 are 3 round burst or Full Auto select fire weapons.  (meaning pull the trigger and 3 rounds come out) The AR-15 is NOT an Assault Rifle.  It just looks like one.  There are many less military looking rifles out there that do EXACTLY the same thing and in more powerful calibers.  So banning the AR-15 is not going to help. Period.

M16A4 selector

Second, Banning ANYTHING just makes it slightly more difficult to get.  Criminals and crazies will find a way if that is what they really want.  Otherwise, they will just pick something else to kill with.  They already do not follow laws. Why would they follow one or two more laws?  Look at all the car and knife attacks that happen world-wide with no guns involved.

M16A1 (Old school)

Third, The AR-15 is not a particularly great rifle.  It’s ok, and highly customizable (but hard to convert to full-auto) but it’s not any better than a bunch of other deer rifles and I would argue not as good.  Just so you know that I do know what I’m talking about, I spent 9 years in the USAF with the M-16A1 (full auto) as my main duty weapon (along with the M-9 pistol).  It was good, easy to carry around, light, seemed to work every time we shot, which is the point.  Think of this… The government buys things, including guns, on a lowest-bidder system.  SO, the M-16 was the result of the lowest bidder.  Meaning, there are better guns out there that cost more.

AR15 Selector (note: No Auto or burst)

Now that we are talking about the same thing,  Banning the AR because of it’s looks is just like banning Corvettes because they look fast or banning Lemon-lime soda.  Sort of pointless.

Personally, I don’t really have a want or need for an AR-15.  I have the guns I want and need for my use of guns.  I have my carry pistols covered.  I have a deer rifle (but do not hunt) and a shotgun.  I’m happy with that. BUT, what I worry about is if we let the government ban a type of gun.  Then the next time something happens, they will want to ban that type of gun and before long, we won’t’ be able to have guns.   The slippery slope argument.

I don’t have a problem with better background checks and background checks for private sales and gun shows as long as it’s not hard to expensive to do. A reasonable fee and non-cumbersome process would be just fine with me.  We already have laws that cover who shouldn’t get guns. We need to enforce them. Not make up new ones.  Changing the age limit to buy guns wouldn’t really bother me but it wouldn’t helped in most mass-shootings because most of the shooters either were over 21 or got their guns in another way.

Magazine capacity is not the problem either.   With 10 round magazines and a skilled shooter, they can still get a crap-load of bullets down range.

In other words, this knee-jerk reaction to a tragedy is not going to help anyone.  Just like airline security, it’s just a feel good thing but doesn’t really do much for real safety.

What is the solution?  I haven’t got a clue.  Sorry, I don’t, but what has been proposed is not it.  I do know that much.