2nd Amendment Rights & the AR-15

May 24, 2022

A timeless and highly polarized topic….

The AR-15 was designed by ArmaLite in 1957 in response to a request from the U.S. Army to develop a rifle with “high-velocity; full- and semi-auto fire; 20 shot magazine; 6-lbs loaded; able to penetrate both sides of a standard Army helmet at 500 meters”.

When it entered Army service in the 1960s, it was named the “M16”. When the semi-automatic version of the rifle was later introduced by ArmaLite to the civilian market, it was known as the “AR-15”.

From 1994 to 2004, AR-15-style rifles were subject to (the now-expired) Federal Assault Weapons Ban which outlawed manufacture of these and other assault-style weapons for civilian use.

Following the expiration of the Ban, AR-15-style weapons attained great popularity in the U.S. They have been used in countless mass shootings across the U.S. (including: Buffalo; Sandy Hook; Aurora; Boulder; Parkland; Las Vegas; San Bernardino; Sutherland Springs; Nashville; Midland–Odessa; Poway; and the Tree of Life Synagogue.

I wonder if the epidemic of mass shootings in the U.S. could be directly correlated to the extreme popularity of this weapon?

Meanwhile, most independent firearm experts don’t consider the AR-15 (or its clones) to be a good choice for either hunting or home-defense uses.

One reason is that its standard .223 caliber ammunition doesn’t offer much stopping power for anything other than small game. It is a very high velocity cartridge (muzzle velocity > 3,000 fps). When combined with the capacity to fire up to 45 rounds per minute, the AR becomes extremely dangerous to bystanders in home defense situations due to over-penetration and random ‘spray’.

Many hunters find the rifle controversial, arguing that AR-15-style rifles encourage a “spray and pray” technique which is contrary to best practices.

One way to reduce over-penetration and improve stopping power is to use hollow point or soft point ammunition; some opt for the more controversial ‘green tip’ rounds vs. the standard full metal jacket rounds.

One hunter, a former soldier himself, said it well, “I served in the military and the M-16 was the weapon I used. It was designed as an assault weapon, plain and simple. A hunter doesn’t need a semi-automatic rifle to hunt. If he says he does, he sucks as a marksman, and should go play video games. During hunting season, you can see more men running around the bush all cammo’d up with assault vests and face paint with tricked out AR’s. These are not hunters but wannabe weekend warriors.”

The folks in Ukraine are fighting for their very existence against an outside enemy that wants to destroy them and their entire country. Here at home, we experienced another mass shooting at an elementary school, this time in Texas (5/24/22). The solutions to put a halt to these senseless massacres — primarily orchestrated by young domestic terrorists — are well-known.

But, instead of fixing critical domestic problems, a rather sizable number of our U.S. elected officials prefer to focus their time and effort on banning books; legislating elementary school curriculum and content; and punishing those who don’t agree with them.

It’s very sad, indeed.

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