In these chaotic times, a brief AR-15 primer by Mike McDaniel
The Seventh Circuit has recently ruled AR-15 pattern rifles are not protected by the Second Amendment. The lawless ruling ignores the Heller and Bruen decisions.
Leading the list of long guns sold, the ubiquitous AR-15 is the most popular sporting rifle in America. Circa 2023, Americans own more than 23 million. The AR-15 is also the rifle type democrats/Socialists/Communists are most desperate to ban, that and so-called “high capacity magazines,” which have been standard capacity magazines since the Vietnam War.
Considering d/S/C support for criminals and their overt efforts to abolish or cripple the police, it’s easy to understand why Americans continue to buy arms and ammunition in record quantities: they tend to do the opposite of what government wants–-they’re American that way–-and they’re not stupid. To set the record straight a brief AR-15 primer:
*“AR” does not stand for “assault rifle,” and certainly not for “assault weapon,” a linguistic invention best understood as any gun anti-liberty/gun cracktivists want to ban. Eugene Stoner, the AR’s inventor, worked at Armalite, thus, “Armalite Rifle.”
*Virtually all AR-pattern rifles are semiautomatics, unlike the military M4. It’s theoretically possible to own a machinegun in AR form, but as I recently explained, is all but impossible.
Left to right: .22LR, 9mm, .223, .308
*ARs do not fire a “high-powered” cartridge. The .223/5.56 NATO cartridge is intermediate power, useful in hunting animals the size of coyotes. The main military advantage is the cartridge is small and weighs much less than true high-powered rounds. Many more may be carried for the same weight and space. The cartridge is not uniquely dangerous or deadly, and our warfighters have long complained about its relative ineffectiveness. Modern combat occurs at far closer ranges than past combat.
*ARs are chambered for larger diameter cartridges with the addition of properly sized upper receivers, but the cartridge must still fit within the dimensions of a standard AR magazine, therefore, no “high-powered” cartridges work.
*The AR, in M16 guise, was first adopted by the Air Force for base security, and only later and reluctantly, by our other military branches. Not a new invention, its forerunner, the AR-10, was designed in the mid-50s. ARs have been on gun store shelves since the early 1960s.
*Magazine capacity is irrelevant. Magazines in any magazine-fed firearm may be changed within a few seconds. What is relevant is in this increasingly lawless time, one never knows how many attackers they may have to face. A standard AR magazine, or greater than 10-round pistol magazine, may be the difference between life and death.
*Police agencies are increasingly replacing shotguns with ARs. They’re accurate to 300 yards and beyond, yet their light-weight bullets tend not to over-penetrate. The difference in recoil and muzzle blast between 12-gauge shotguns and ARs is dramatic. Female police officers, and not a few male officers, hate shotguns. After a few qualification rounds, they’re more than happy to stop shooting. All enjoy ARs.
*Collapsible stocks are no sinister aid to criminals, nor do they aid in concealability. They “collapse” about 3.5 inches, which allows a general issue rifle to properly fit a variety of soldiers. In civilian use, they allow the same rifle to easily adjust to father, mother and daughter.
*Their rugged, light weight, construction is designed for field use. They’re easy to shoot accurately, easy to clean and maintain and resistant to damage, which makes them excellent hunting rifles as well as suitable for every other lawful purpose.
*They are ergonomically superb. Even little girls find their low recoil, light weight, and accuracy delightful.
*Unlike what the d/S/C media would have us believe, they are virtually never used in crime. The 2019 FBI Uniform Crime Report, which encompasses data from 2015-2019, lists the use in 2019 of 13,927 weapons of all kinds in homicides, but only 364 rifles of all types. AR-15s were only a tiny portion of that tiny portion of rifles.
*In Heller and Bruen, the Supreme Court made clear the Second Amendment is not a second-class right. It affirms an unalienable, natural, individual right to keep and bear arms in common use for self-defense and every other lawful purpose, which includes semiautomatic handguns, rifles and shotguns. The AR-15 is the most common and popular contemporary semiautomatic rifle.
*Part of the AR’s popularity is veterans have always been fond of their service rifles. Even though civilian versions are not fully automatic, owing a replica of a service rifle is an American tradition and has always helped with recruiting, help of which we’re very much in need.
The Seventh Circuit and other cases will soon cause the Supreme Court to specifically rule AR-pattern rifles constitutionally protected. There is no constitutional, practical reason otherwise. A more complete AR primer may be found here.
Mike McDaniel is a classically trained musician, Japanese and European fencer, life-long athlete, firearm instructor and retired police officer and high school and college English teacher. His home blog is Stately McDaniel Manor.