It’s an all too familiar pattern. Before the families of victims of the Islamic terror attack in Orlando had even all been notified, a chorus of opportunistic liberals began an assault on the Second Amendment and led the charge using images of the big bad wolf of the anti-gun movement — the AR-15.
“The standard AR is illegal in most states for deer and big game hunting because it is not considered powerful enough to reliably put down deer-sized or larger game”
The three defining features of modern liberalism are an intense aversion to the Constitution, a denial of objective truth, and a penchant for intentionally abusing the English language with an aim to mislead the public. No issue exemplifies these three features better than the “debate” about the AR-15 and “assault weapons.”
Publications from the Washington Post to Newsweek to the Huffington Post published screeds against the AR-15 and “assault weapons,” and politicians, pundits, and celebrities alike rushed to signal their liberal virtue by attacking the rifle and calling for banning automatic weapons.
“I believe weapons of war have no place on our streets,” said Hillary Clinton. “Ban automatic weapons,” tweeted “Family Guy” creator Seth McFarlane. The AR-15 “is the weapon of mass destruction that has killed … innocent party-goers in Orlando” reads an image published on Facebook by the Huffington Post.
There are just a few glaring problems with this narrative — there’s no such thing as an “assault weapon”, automatic weapons are already illegal, and Islamic terrorist Omar Mateen didn’t use an AR-15 in his attack.
Despite what every liberal publication rushed to assert in the wake of the Orlando attack, an AR-15 was not used — Mateen in fact used a Sig Sauer MCX carbine. Not that this will matter in the long run to the anti-Second Amendment crowd, which in general doesn’t seem to know a clip from a magazine from a round.
Indeed, it is this stunning ignorance of firearms that seems in part responsible for liberals’ hatred of the AR-15. Mr. MacFarlane’s call for an automatic weapons ban is just a little late. Automatic firearms — firearms in which one trigger pull releases multiple rounds — have been regulated heavily in American since the National Firearms Act of 1934, and in 1986 the Federal government banned completely the sale or transfer of new machine guns to civilians.
Fine, the gun control advocate might say. Automatic weapons might already be illegal, but surely there’s no reason for civilians to have military grade assault weapons. That gun control advocate would be wrong again.
“Prior to 1989, the term ‘assault weapon’ did not exist in the lexicon of firearms. It is a political term, developed by anti-gun publicists to expand the category of ‘assault rifles.’” wrote Bruce H. Kobayashi and Joseph E. Olson in the Stanford Law and Policy Review. And of course by that time “assault rifles,” or machine guns, were already illegal.
Contrary to the Huffington Post’s wildly hyperbolic claim that an AR-15 is a “weapon of mass destruction,” and Clinton’s assertion that it is a “weapon of war,” the AR-15 is not a particularly dangerous firearm in terms of firepower.
A skilled shooter can fire about 60 rounds per minute with an AR-15. Some fully automatic assault rifles, however, can fire over 1,000 rounds per minute. The M4A1, one of the AR-15’s military counterparts, can fire 950 rounds per minute. The AR-15 might look like a scary military-style machine gun to some, but it is in truth no different in operation from a standard-looking long rifle, and is in many cases far less lethal.
“The AR-15 is a weapon explicitly designed for the purpose of accurately killing other people, potentially at great distances,” writes Sam Biddle for Gawker in one of many misleading sentences. One would presume that all firearms other than shotguns are designed for the purpose of accuracy.
But the notion that even a military-grade assault rifle is designed to accurately kill people “potentially at great distances” is simply hogwash. The range of an AR-15 is between 400-600 yards. Contrast that to the Remington Sendero SF II, a somewhat popular hunting rifle which is accurate over 1000 yards and chambered in a caliber far more powerful than the AR-15.
“The standard AR is illegal in most states for deer and big game hunting because it is not considered powerful enough to reliably put down deer-sized or larger game,” wrote former NRA president David Keene. Moreover, the U.S. military reported multiple issues with their M4A1s
So why all the public confusion? It’s really quite simple. AR-15s look scary compared to pistols and shotguns, and the gun control lobby realized it is far easier to garner public support for a campaign to ban something if it’s scary-looking.
“Handgun restriction is simply not viewed as a priority,” lamented the Violence Policy Center, one of the nation’s leading anti-gun groups, in a 1988 report called “Assault Weapons and Accessories in America.”
“Assault weapons,” the report continues, “are a new topic. The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.”
In the past 10 years, assault-style rifles have been used in 14 public mass shootings. By just mid-April there had already been 1,000 shootings in 2016 in the city of Chicago — most of those shootings involved handguns.