The big scary AR-15 Part One

There’s so much misinformation surrounding the AR-15 that I wanted to clear some things up. First off, there is no such thing as an “assault weapon.” The term was made up by Art Agnos, an anti-gun politician, in 1985. The term assault rifle was already taken so “assault weapon” was used. If you’re confused relax. It was intentionally meant to be confusing. I’ll explain the difference.

The term assault rifle is a legal term to describe select fire fully automatic rifles. When you hear assault rifle think machine gun. The manufacture of assault rifles was banned (for civilian use) in 1986 by the National Firearms Act (NFA). It didn’t make it illegal to own them per se just exceedingly difficult. Like all NFA items, machine guns, silencers, short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, as well as some other items, all you have to do is pay the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) a $200 tax and wait about a year. Since the manufacture of assault rifles was banned they are incredibly rare. This also makes them incredibly expensive.

So then you ask, “what is an assault weapon?” The answer to that is relatively easy. It’s a firearm that looks like an assault rifle. Most commonly a magazine fed semiautomatic rifle that has a certain number of “cosmetic, ergonomic, or safety features.” I’m pretty experienced with firearms and I never knew that safety features could make a firearm more deadly. The term continues to change and more loosely means, “anything that scares me.” Still confused? Let me break it down some more.

Arguably the most popular rifle in America is the Ruger 10/22.

Ruger 10/22 Sporter-Photo Credit
Ruger 10/22 Compact-Photo Credit

It is a magazine fed, semiautomatic rifle. Nothing scary about it. It was the first rifle I ever fired. It will be the first rifle I buy my children. Now lets say it didn’t fit me right and I wanted to put on an adjustable stock so that it was comfortable for both my children and I to shoot. Now because I’ve put the new stock on it I have to put a pistol grip on it too in order to shoot it because of the angle of the stock. Also, I want to add a muzzle device to help with compensation for my young daughter. Uh oh, guess what I just did. I made an “assault weapon.”

Ruger 10/22 "Assault Weapon"-Photo Credit
Ruger 10/22 “Assault Weapon”-Photo Credit

This rifle is now 0% more deadly (it’s a .22lr and I’ve already talked about how weak those are) but 1,000% more scary. I didn’t change the way it functions in the slightest. I only changed the way it looks. Are you beginning to see how ridiculous banning “assault weapons” is? I digress.

But you say, “how does this apply to the AR-15?” First of all the AR-15 already has a strike against it because it looks like the military M-16.

Standard AR-15-Photo Credit
Standard AR-15-Photo Credit

They look the same so they have to be the same right? Wrong. In this case very wrong. I keep hearing talk about military weapons or weapons of war when referring to the AR-15. Let me just tell you, no self respecting military in the world would ever go to war with the AR-15.

Colt M-16-Photo Credit
Colt M-16-Photo Credit

They look the same. They shoot the same cartridge. They even have some interchangeable parts. So what’s the difference? Well, just the way the firearms operates. What? They operate differently? Yeah. The AR-15 is semiautomatic. The M-16 is also semiautomatic but also either is fully automatic or has a three round burst. If you don’t know the difference educate yourself here. The jist? Semiautomatic means one pull of the trigger one bullet is fired. It’s semiautomatic because when the cartridge is fired it is ejected and another is chambered. With an automatic, when the trigger is pulled multiple rounds are fired. So for those of you paying attention, what does that make the M-16? You guessed it, an assault rifle.

You can see why the term “assault weapon” is used by anti-gun politicians. Not only do they look alike, but if we can make them sound alike, people who don’t know any better will never know the difference. If you’re one of those people do you feel used? You should.

So I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “couldn’t we just make them not look as scary?” Well, would it make you feel any better if they all looked like this?

Pink AR-15-Photo Credit
Pink AR-15-Photo Credit

0% less dangerous but slightly less scary? How about this?

NY/CA Compliant AR-15-Photo Credit
NY/CA Compliant AR-15-Photo Credit

“What is that?” you may ask. That is a NY/CA legal AR-15. You see both states have “assault weapon” bans. This firearm doesn’t have an adjustable stock, a pistol grip or a muzzle device. So by the laws of uncommon sense it is not an “assault weapon” and is now rendered ineffective. Right? Of course not. It’s 0% less lethal and 1,000,000% more ridiculous.

The point of this blog? The entire assault on “assault weapons” is about fear. It’s textbook fear mongering. The term itself is meant to confuse and inspire fear. It’s meant to segregate a section of gun owners because of the way their firearm looks, not the way it functions. If you’re ok with this Ruger Mini 14 (semiauto, magazine fed, fires the same cartridge) but not an AR-15, you need to check your priorities.

Ruger Mini 14-Photo Credit
Ruger Mini 14-Photo Credit

Freedom will always find a way. I rue the day when innovation is no longer an option.

If you’re now reeling because I’ve pulled the curtain down on the “assault weapon” sham and you need someone to talk to feel free to send me an email or comment.


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