Robert Treadway: Why It’s OK to Ban the AR-15 (Not Shown)

As Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and California Senator Dianne Feinstein ready their assault weapons ban bills, columnist Robert Treadway at kyforward.com tries to explain why AR-15s deserve civilian oblivion. “The AR-15 and its variants are fundamentally different from any other rifle on the market: It is light, effective, fast and easy to use to the point that it is in a different category of rifle than those coming before. The AR-15, far more than any other weapon, is easy for an inexperienced shooter to learn to use, because of its light recoil and pistol grip, and the fact that its light recoil makes firing multiple rounds without breaking sight far easier than firing a .30 calibre rifle. It is easy for an inexperienced marksman to fire many rounds from an AR-15 without fatigue from the recoil; even the experienced shoulder gets sore after just a few shots from a .30 calibre rifle.” You know where this is going . . .

Very few heavy calibre rifles have been used in shooting situations such as the one in Newtown, and it is unlikely that they ever will be. Most school shooters are young and inexperienced marksmen. Most inexperienced shooters are not capable of accurately firing large-calibre weapons outside a rifle range, and the noise, recall and muzzle flash of a .30 calibre cartridge are often as frightening to the shooter as to the target.

However, the AR-15 and its variants were specifically designed to be used by an inexperienced shooter, and to be more pleasant to fire than the older battle rifles they replaced. And the design succeeded very well. Now the question is what to do with that success.

Buy it? Use it to defend oneself against all threats foreign and domestic? Own it as an expression of your Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms? Or . . . ban it? Confiscate it? Remove it from the civilian population?

You can feel that Treadway, a Harvard Law School grad and senior policy analyst at Kentucky First Strategies (a “full-service political consulting, lobbying and governmental relations firm”), wants to go there. But he wimps out.

Whatever Congress does concerning assault rifles will be criticized, and one of the primary criticisms will be that assault weapons are being unfairly treated differently than normal sporting weapons. I hope I’ve shown that, while that may be true theoretically, it is not true in the real world, which is the place these shooting occur. Whether Congress regulates, bans or merely criticizes these weapons, we need to understand that they are fundamentally different than any weapons that have come before.

Treadway is wrong. Fundamentally. But clever. Which is scarier than any scary black rifle I’ve ever seen. Just sayin’ . . .

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

79 Responses to Robert Treadway: Why It’s OK to Ban the AR-15 (Not Shown)

  1. avatarLance says:

    I dont think this man was ever pro 2A looks like a Brady campaign Nazi wants to make it look like gun owners are deeply divided while poll show differently.

  2. avatarDarren says:

    The Girandoni air rifle was fundamentally different than any rifle that had come before. A repeating rifle with a 22-round magazine that shoots accurately over 100 yards with the power of a .45 ACP. Not impressive now, but an innovation in 1780.

    The Ferguson breechloading rifle was fundamentally different than any rifle that had come before. It could be fired accurately to more than 200 yards and loaded approximately six times faster than muzzleloading rifles of the time. Not impressive now, but an innovation in 1778.

    The AR-15 was an innovation when it was first put on the market, and dismissed as a “poodle shooter” for the anemic round it utilized. That was 1964.

    New is bad, even when it is not new. These people are ruled by fear. The people who wrote the Constitution…yeah, not so much.

  3. avatarMy name is Bob says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how quickly people can compose and pass off such contrived BS.

    • avatarAlphaGeek says:

      He’s a Harvard educated professor. That’s his job.

      Not that I have anything against Harvard. Or professors, really. Except when they use those credentials as a badge of authority while trying to pretend to be knowledgeable.

      For what it’s worth, I feel the same way about doctors who are self-proclaimed violent crime experts because they’ve spent years treating gangbangers with gunshot wounds in the ER. Wait, how does that work again?

  4. avatarJohn says:

    I don’t recall the part in the Second Amendment where it says easy to use, light weigh, low recoil guns can be banned. I must have missed that in the Debate on the Constitution, the Federalist/Anti-Federalist Papers.

    • avatarS.CROCK says:

      its not that the anti gunnies are 100% against self defense. just 90% agains. they are also against effective self defense. hence 10d rd mag cap.

  5. avatarAlphaGeek says:

    I’m impressed that you managed to cover that article without mentioning any of the many factual errors. One of my personal favorites:

    The AR-15 has a pistol grip, rather than a rifle’s receiver, which both helps distribute its weight more to the right hand, and which makes aiming and firing easier.

    The original author should be enthusiastically encouraged to grasp a rifle by the receiver during sustained fire. Personally, I will stick to putting my hand on the stock.

    • avatarAlphaGeek says:

      This just hit me: where was this guy when CA passed the ban on the scary-but-no-crimes-on-record 50BMG firearms?

      The boom from a 1000-yard competition rifle in 50BMG is something to be reckoned with, and the guns are frickin’ heavy, so therefore by his reasoning the heavy, scary-loud 50BMG rifles should be Just Fine for personal ownership.

      • avatarSanchanim says:

        Very good point, I would like to own a nice Barrett 107A1, but alas it aint gonna happen!
        Then again I can’t see someone holding up a stop and rob with one either…

        • avatarAlphaGeek says:

          I’m pretty sure everyone would have fled the premises or locked themselves in the back room by the time you could lug a Barrett 107A1 into the store. The spectacle would make for some funny security-camera footage, that’s for sure.

        • avatarHal says:

          I told you to move a long time ago…

  6. avatarJon says:

    By this rationale, the .22-caliber should be banned as well. It is responsible for far more deaths than the .223 each year, has far less recoil, and is much easier for the inexperienced shooter to handle.

    • avatarbub says:

      you may have hit on the problem. if ar15s are banned, the crazies will likely turn to the next best option for them the .22lr and the anti-gun forces will be after all the .22s as well. once you start banning certain guns it’s going to be hard for them to stop. it’s unlikely a new awb will stop people from getting shot.

      p.s. under the proposed new awb your options for the lowly .22lr are restricted as well. making it all the more important for gun owners to stand up for the second amendment rights.

      • avatarS.CROCK says:

        false. just because we couldn’t get the ar’s, doesn’t mean the crazies would stop using them. they wound just get them illegally.

  7. avatarWA_2a says:

    “The AR-15 and its variants are fundamentally different from any other rifle on the market: It is light, effective, fast and easy to use to the point that it is in a different category of rifle than those coming before.”

    So we should ban the AR-15 because it’s such a good rifle? It’s just “too good for civilians?”

    Oh, one more thing, about the recoil. This guy acts like the only choice in weaponry that mass shooters have are an AR-15 or a .30 caliber rifle. Should we just ban everything that recoils less than a .30 caliber round? All .223/5.56, 5.45, rimfire rifles, etc., must be banned, not to mention those dreadful pistol caliber carbines.

    If they want to limit our 2nd amendment we should limit their 1st amendment. I’m starting to get a headache from listening to this garbage the antis call logic.

    • avatarAlphaGeek says:

      Apparently the original author is a big Nick Leghorn fan, as by his reasoning an AR-15 in .300BLK would be fine and dandy. Because it fires a .30 caliber projectile.

      • avatarWmc says:

        What about the ole 30 carbine? I shot one full auto once, M1. Easier to control than the pistol grip, folding stock full auto Mini-14 that I also shot. But he’s right on one thing, the old BAR in .30-06 with the happy switch is scary. I love having rich friends with NFA items.

        • avatarC says:

          Introduce me to your friends?

          but yeah, my first reaction was: “Well, which .30 cal?”

        • avatarWA_2A says:

          There’s a big difference between 7.62×39 and 7.62x54r in terms of recoil, but they’re both 30 cal rounds!

          Also, BAR + Happy Switch = too awesome.

  8. avatarWilliam says:

    RESIST the temptation to consign the S.O.B. to the “idiot” bin; this is just more forked-tongue treachery!

  9. avatarMark N. says:

    His description makes it sound like the perfect defensive weapon for the average (and inexperienced) homeowner.

  10. avatarMr aNINNYmouse says:

    “However, the AR-15 and its variants were specifically designed to be used by an inexperienced shooter…”

    isn’t he mistaking the AR for the AK?……

  11. avatarJosh says:

    So AR-10s are OK, right? AR-platform rifles should be permitted if they have calibers heavier than .223 or have the brake turned upside down so they break the sight picture.

  12. avatarChuckN says:

    I’d like to know comrade Treadway’s take
    on rifles used during the American Revolution
    as opposed to British muskets. And what about
    crossbows? They were the original banned
    assault weapon.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Treadway’s knowledge of
    military arms seems to be as valid and in
    depth as Ben Affleck’s Pearl Harbor.

  13. avatarAsh. Housewares. says:

    Maybe…. If this article were written in 1963. They all write as if they just became available last year.

  14. avatarAPBTFan says:

    I wonder if this joker has ever fired an AR let alone any other gun. I’d love to know how exactly the AR is fundamentally different than anything else out there.

    My idea of fast, light and effective is a Winchester ’94 Trapper in .357 Magnum.

    • avatarirock350 says:

      “The Model 94′s combination of potent firepower in a compact, lightweight, comfortable to carry, and quick-shooting package has made it an extremely popular hunting rifle.”

      Seems like a similar description to me. May be we should ban it. It has been used to kill A LOT of people.

  15. avatarIn Memphis says:

    Robert Treadway: Why Its OK to Ban Stupid

    • avatarWA_2A says:

      If you outlaw stupid, only outlaws will be stupid!

      Hey, that doesn’t sound like such a bad thing…

      Hey, antis are stupid, and their opposition to the 2nd amendment could be considered criminal. This just confirms what we already knew!

  16. avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    I guess telling this moron about the M-1 Carbine from WWII wouldn’t change his thinking, would it?

  17. avatarRalph says:

    Most inexperienced shooters are not capable of accurately firing large-calibre weapons

    What a turdbrain. At point blank range, as in Newtown, a blind man could have hit those “targets” by sound.

  18. avatarSanchanim says:

    The worst school shooting in US history was done with 22 caliber and 9 mm hand gun. The P22 was introduce in 2003 and the Glock 19 in 1982. Both were designed to be easy to use, shoot straight, solid ergonomics.
    So his point is rather invalid, since the ArmaLite was sold by Colt to the civilian market starting in 1963. So he is complaining about a design which is a half century old. There are plenty of other designs which are newer, based off the 556 round like the Tavor, or take your pick. So really we are complaining about the grandfather of gas operated semi automatic sporting rifles. All of these can trace their roots to the 1946 design of the AK-46 which was the first gas operated carbine. The ArmaLite design was different in it’s modular construction but the idea of using redirected gases to operate the action was of the same mind set. The M1 was also gas operated but the implementation of how the gasses operated the action was different.

  19. avatarRandy Drescher says:

    The anti’s always said, why do you need an AR? Because treadway said it was too good, Randy

  20. avatarBilly Wardlaw says:

    You could make the same argument for banning comfortable shoes.

  21. avatarLemming says:

    Probably best not to mention the 995TS and Sub2k to him. Particularly, alas, the 995.

  22. In his world we’re only allowed to use large, uncomfortable, complex, heavy, and difficult to use firearms. That sounds safe.

    Can we only allow him to use a car by the same descriptions? All innovation must cease.

  23. avatarJay Dunn says:

    When Charles Joseph Whitman killed 17 people and seriously wounded 34 more at the Univ. of Texas on August first 1966 he used a plain old Remington 700.

    This was back in the days when you could go into almost any gun shop in Texas (or Kentucky) and buy an M16 semi-auto with no FBI checks, no ATF forms or any hassle at all. He also had at least one M1 carbine and a couple of handguns but these were for defending himself from the police not for the prime goal.

    • avatarCrunkleross says:

      Ordinary citizens in the streets below also shot back at him, may have helped keep him from killing more, funny how at the time that didn’t seem unexpected. Now we are expected to act like victims.

  24. avatarRad Man says:

    I think I get it. ARs are so good they’re bad.

  25. avatarArmchair Command'oh says:

    Last time I checked, my AK fired a .30-caliber round. For some reason, I bet he wants to ban it too.

  26. avatarPascal says:

    I wonder what this idiot would say if he saw some of those people who shoot cowboy action competitions with a lever gun who can out gun some people with an AR.

  27. avatarDaveL says:

    Attention, all politicians, journalists, and other assorted commentators with a (very) little bit of firearms knowledge: you know that latest “highly technical” rationalization you’ve come up with to justify what is fundamentally a hysterical emotional reaction to scary black rifles? Keep it to yourselves. You’re embarrassing yourselves and you’re insulting everyone else’s intelligence.

  28. avatarRandy Drescher says:

    What we need is a good criminal safe gun, we can call it the…treadway. It’ll fire foam tipped bullets, regular ones can put an eye out you know. That way when a criminal comes at you with a knife you can pull out your trusty treadway & fire away without any thought of hurting him. A lady in Milwaukee did not have a gun in a knife encounter, I believe she was buried, mon. tues & wed, Randy

  29. avatarSkippy says:

    I have been a professional newspaper photographer since 1981, with 2/3 of my career using film cameras and working in a darkroom. Digital cameras are a threat to my livelihood because:

    ““The DIGITAL CAMERA and its variants are fundamentally different from any other CAMERA on the market: It is light, effective, fast and easy to use to the point that it is in a different category of CAMERA than those coming before. The DIGITAL CAMERA, far more than any FILM CAMERA, is easy for an inexperienced shooter to learn to use, because of its light AUTO FOCUS and AUTO EXPOSURE and the fact that its 16G MEMORY CARD makes firing multiple rounds without breaking sight far easier than FIRING MULTIPLE ROLLS OF 36-EXPOSURE FILM. It is easy for an inexperienced PHOTOGRAPHER to fire many rounds from an DIGITAL CAMERA without fatigue from CHANGING FILM; even the experienced WRIST gets sore after just a few ROLLS from a MANUAL FOCUS FILM CAMERA”

  30. avatarJon R. says:

    Charles Whitman wrote the following in a letter after stabbing and killing his mother and his wife before embarking on his killing spree in Austin TX in 1966.

    “I imagine it appears that I brutally killed both of my loved ones. I was only trying to do a quick thorough job [...] If my life insurance policy is valid please pay off my debts [...] donate the rest anonymously to a mental health foundation. Maybe research can prevent further tragedies of this type.”

    Gun control is not a real solution…

  31. avatarYawner says:

    By far the most consistent claptrap I keep hearing from the control crowd is the old, ‘the founding fathers could never have known that we would one day have this kind of weaponry available to the ordinary citizen.’ My feeling has always been that if they did have the opportunity to have AR15s, they would have jumped up, clicked their heels and said, ‘Yes! We’ll have more of those please! Now we’ve got nothing to worry about!’.

    • avatarAPBTFan says:

      I’m so freakin’ tired of that argument!!!!!

      The dimwits that use that tired argument completely forget to mention that when the 1st Amendment was written our Founding Fathers could have never conceived of radio, television or internet yet those three come under no “period correct” interpretations. Back then our Fathers would have been delighted to have the arms we enjoy today just as much as they would have been delighted to have the communications we have now.

  32. avatarLeo338 says:

    So what does he think about an AR-10? Is that acceptable since by his standards it fires a .30 calibre bullet and would never be used in a crime since it’s so frightening to the shooter.

  33. avatarGuy22 says:

    Arbalest = AR15
    The History of the Crossbow dates back to 600BC in Ancient China. The Greeks and the Romans were also known to use this weapon. The Medieval crossbow was introduced to England by William the Conqueror in 1066. The medieval Knight was the most powerful and effective warrior and said to be worth 10 foot soldiers, often just peasants who were regarded with the lowest esteem and considered expendable. The crossbow could be used by an untrained soldier to injure or kill a knight in plate armour. The crossbow, itself, was therefore viewed as an inhuman weapon which required no skill and had no honour. It was even banned by the Pope! The crossbow was used throughout the Middle Ages. Richard the Lionheart’s army had both crossbows and longbows. King Richard died as a result of gangrene after being shot by a crossbow bolt at Chalus-Charbrol near Limousin, France, on 26 March 1199. The threat of Mercenaries flooding England from the continent, willing to fight for the highest bidder, led to one of the clauses in the Magna Carta (1215) seeking to banish all foreign crossbowmen. All attempts to apply a weapon ban on crossbows failed and all such requests were ignored.

    Yes they all tried to ban the crossbow. Did it work?

    The powerfull people said “Oh Shit” the average guy can kill me. This can’t stand.

    Any thoughts???

    Guy22

    • avatarMike in NC says:

      Minor revision: “The ivy-league Progressive was the most pompous and egotistical worrier and said to be worth 10 fly-over residents, often just peasants who were regarded with the lowest esteem and considered expendable.”

      As for the rest, spot on. “All this has happened before. All this will happen again.”

    • avatarإبليس says:

      It was more profitable to ransom a knight than kill him. Eventually noblemen just lead from the rear anyway. Give them credit for charging in on horseback. None of our elites would risk their lives on the front.

  34. The flintlock musket (aprox 1600 to 1840) is actually one of the greatest advances in Arms technology. It transformed the entire class system in Europe. The musket was primarily responsible for ending the reign of the Knights and Nobility in Europe. Not even the Atom Bomb had as great an impact as the musket. Around the time of the American Revolution there was a major advance for muskets called rifling that gave them 3 times the range and accuracy.

  35. avatarDarth Mikey says:

    Perhaps we should make this guy happy and propose a new bill requiring every citizen to own a Minigun. It’s based on 19th century technology (though it was unlike any gun before it), and it’s also a very heavy thirty caliber with lots of blast and recoil to discourage those young panzy spree killers (under his theory that they’d simply stay home and be good if all they had handy was too big and too hard to handle, and the rest-of-us’ theory that spree killers wouldn’t dare face such a thing knowing they’d likely run into one or a dozen in any public place). (And we’d all need to get into Jesse Ventura shape to lug one around, solving our national obesity problem.) And hey, if you could have a gummint-subsidized electric cannon, would you still want an AR? (Okay, yes I would. But would you care about my AR ownership if I had a Gatling gun?)

    It would also make the DiFi/Illinois AWB set happy: It’s belt-fed (no “high capacity” magazines), no pistol grip, no collapsing stock, no suppressor–actually zero “assault weapon” features. And full auto? Well, if you define it by rounds fired per trigger pull, technically, there isn’t even a trigger to pull. It’s a button. And if the button is deemed a trigger, you could wire it up to any “human interface device” to work the thing. Maybe your smart phone (there’s an Ap for that!). Bluetooth? (Probably not a “Clapper”.) We could even wire them to those new smart-trigger optical systems so they only shoot the armed bad guys.

    (Of course, my DEagle would make this doof happy: It’s big, heavy, scary, and has made grown men scream like little girls at the recoil. And I haven’t seen a magazine over 9 rounds on the market. If you’re worrried about the fiscal impact of providing Miniguns to the general public, maybe we should just go “cheap” and mandate Universal Magnum Handgun Ownership.)

    So, how is my immodest proposal any more insane than the gun grabbers? Discuss.

    • avatarJames says:

      If grown men scream, what would grown women do? I know; fall all over them for being so sensitive and expressing their feelings.

  36. avatarGreg Camp says:

    So the .223 is quieter and produces less muzzle flash? Has this guy ever been around firearms? If he gets a sore shoulder after firing a few rounds of .30 caliber (whatever that means), he’s a wimp, either born or converted to the cause. If he’s frightened by shooting that caliber, he’d better hide under his bed. The dangers of this world are manifold. I found my first experience shooting .30 caliber–7.62 x 54R–to be exciting. Shooting .45-70 was even more so.

    In one respect, he’s right. The AR-15 uses that stupid gas system, something that few designs have. That’s because they’re as cranky as a seventy-year-old prostate. But somehow, I don’t think that’s what he meant.

  37. avatarOODAloop says:

    Woah, I think he just found out how to stop all those horrible deaths caused by drunk drivers. The problem is that cars are *too* easy to drive! Why, they have power steering for ease of control, an electric starter to aid in cranking over the engine and a *fully automatic* transmission. Why an inexperienced driver could get into a car and drive it, even when inebriated!

    No Sir! No more of this I say! No one needs a *fully automatic* transmission or a clutch- that just makes it easier to drive and kill people. I propose that the US returns to hand-cranked cars, un-powered steering and “three on the tree” without the aid of a crutchclutch.

    He’s not new or clever, he’s just found a slightly different way to attack the technology. It’s kinda the polar opposite of those idiots who say the Constitution was written with muskets in mind…

    • avatarAPBTFan says:

      Nice one!

      You’re right though. Restrict all the “easy” cars and see how many drunks could actually operate a truly old school ride.

  38. avatarConway Redding says:

    Gee, my .30 M-1 carbine kicks like a mule on speed. Not! I guess y’all have noticed by now that a Harvard degree is no guarantee its owner knows anything much about firearms. In any event, Robert Treadway’s argument seems to be congruent with that of another Harvard Law School man, Alan Dershowitz, perhaps one of Treadway’s professors, who has delivered himself of the opinion that those who support the 2d Amendment should be willing to limit themselves to the firearms available when that Amendment was framed, to wit, the muzzle-loading, black powder musket. My thought, though, is that the 2d Amendment was intended to give civilians access to the same technology available at the time to the military, and that, today, its intent is basically the same, though I can just imagine the furor if someone suggested that citizens should be able to acquire, say, MP 40′s, HK MP5′s. Thompson 1928A’s (with one of those wind-up 100 round drum magazines, yet), and their like. Could RPG’s, bazookas, 90 mm. recoilless rifles, mortars, and howitzers be far behind?

  39. avatar4thInfantryVet says:

    This is genius!

    You get a guy who explains things like he is an expert to all these anti-gun people who don’t know anything about guns and don’t know that this guy is full of shit. Then they have even more reason to hate the evil AR based on these “facts”.

  40. avatarDavid-p says:

    Thank God I love the AR 10

  41. avatarpat says:

    So the dude who used the Glocks at Virginia Tech to smoke 32 college students was somehow less dangerous than the sandy freak? So my M1A is so much less dangerous in a crowd than an AR15, or AK? The 308 is a round that turns cover into concealment and a semi 308 is the gun I would use to hunt men carrying AR223/AK7.62by39 rifles.

    • avatartdiinva says:

      +1

      The original M-1 would do just as good a job with an even more powerful 30-06 round.

      • avatarpat says:

        I think countless veterans and civilian enthusiasts would agree with General Patton on that. The point is, beating up on the AR platform is insane when you can clearly see a universe of potential carnage tools that could be used to take innocent life. Lets start with (duh) addressing the issues related to the mentally ill (where ALL can agree).

  42. avatarPistol Pete says:

    I wonder what he thinks of the Henry Rifle. They said you could “Load on Saturday and shoot all week.” What the author claims is like saying the Founding Fathers did not mean military arms. In the first place all you need to do is look up “arms” to see exactly what they meant and additionally they were smart enough to know that you take advantage of technology whether you’re hunting for food or defending yourself, loved ones or country.

  43. avatarMercutio says:

    It occurs to me that the AR-15 isn’t a whole lot different than the Nylon 66 my grandmother bought for me with Green Stamps 50 years ago. 15 shots, semi-auto, plastic stock, and yes, it came in black – with a scary white diamond to give Feinstein a wet spot. even the calibers are similar – .22 vs .223 . Yes a big difference but the media with their “high mags” and “assault weapons” won’t fire that out….

  44. avatarCassandra (of Troy) says:

    At the risk of being accused of cravenness, cowardice, & treason, I’ll happily sacrifice the AR-15/its variants if doing so means that the anti-2A cult will forever foreswear ANY future actions against the AK-47 & the FAL. And to show just how accomodating I am, I’ll even give up handguns if the anti-2A cult will in perpetuity support the aforementioned along with other non-ARs & pump shotguns as being ideally suited for hunting, & in & out of home defense purposes.

    Ya think we can get ol’ Bob Treadway to push an idear like that? Sure sounds like a ‘reasonable’ & ‘common sense’ solution to me.

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