The subject of assault weapons is dominating the news these days and the prospect of their again being banned is driving sales through the roof. It’s what every gun nut wants to find under his or her Christmas tree this year.
The AR-15 was created for only one purpose, to maim and kill people. It is a rapid fire, high velocity, fully automatic killing machine capable of mass destruction intended for use by the military.
It wasn’t long, however, before manufacturers developed a version for the civilian market and sales have been brisk. The only real difference between the two versions is the method of firing. The military version is capable of semi-automatic or fully automatic fire while the civilian rifle is supposed to be semi-automatic only, requiring a separate trigger pull for each shot.
It is this difference that supporters of the AR-15 employ in defending ownership. They play a word game to differentiate between the two versions, claiming that the civilian version is not an assault weapon because it is not fully automatic.
In reality there isn’t much difference between the killing power of either version. The civilian AR-15, such as the Bushmaster used in the Newtown school shootings, can be fired as quickly as one can pull the trigger. A quick study shows that a typical shooter could empty a 30-round magazine in under five seconds and magazines exist that hold over 100 rounds of ammunition. Also, a good gun smith could convert a semi into a fully automatic without too much trouble. Such conversions are even legal under certain conditions.
I’ve never fired an AR-15. The closest I came was qualifying with a Thompson sub-machine gun and a Browning automatic rifle while in the Navy and I doubt either is a match for the far more sophisticated AR-15. What they probably share in common is the sense of power the shooter must feel when holding one of these WMDs in their hands.
So, what’s my conclusion about the assault rifle issue? Basically, in my opinion, there is not justifiable reason for anyone outside of the military or law enforcement to possess one. These kinds of weapons have no purpose in civilian life, you don’t need one to hunt, you don’t need one to protect your family or home, and you don’t need one to target practice. I’m sure that some men may experience sexual arousal just looking at a Bushmaster with an enlarged clip but that’s what porno is for.
Like Pandora’s Box, the lid has been opened. There are tens of thousands of legally owned assault weapons in America and I can’t foresee a day when the government will declare ownership illegal and demand these weapons be surrendered. But, there is zero to be gained in permitting their continued sale and making even more available for the next mentally ill killer to get their hands on.