ARs Are Weapons of War. So What?

By Chris Hernandez

I have a message for my pro-2nd Amendment friends: guys, we don’t have to pretend our ARs aren’t military weapons. One topic central to the gun control debate is whether or not AR-type rifles are “weapons of war” with no purpose in civilian hands. The anti-gun side points out the obvious similarities between an AR-15 and an M-16, and insists citizens have no right or reason to own either one. Gun rights advocates stress an AR’s inability to fire on full automatic and insist that makes them wholly unsuitable for military service . . .

In my experience, the anti-gun side typically engages in more snarky, insulting rhetoric than the pro-gun side does. Gun control advocates call gun owners stupid, say we’re all paranoid, and accuse us of being violent hicks (or even worse, say we own guns to compensate for our [gasp!] small penises). But that reverses when the question of whether or not “assault rifles” are military weapons arises. Then we gun owners become the snarky, insulting ones.

Last week I watched an interview with a gun rights advocate on Fox News. He insisted that an AR has almost nothing in common with a military rifle because it’s not fully automatic. He laughed at Megyn Kelly’s suggestion that they were almost the same, and claimed nobody he knew in the military would ever carry an AR in combat.

I call BS on that one. I carried a semiauto-only M14 in Afghanistan as my primary weapon. I’ve fired my personal AR in a military marksmanship and close quarters combat competition, against other shooters with issued M4 carbines. I’ve trained with my personal AR at close and medium range targets, against moving targets and against multiple targets. The entire reason I bought an AR was because it’s a military weapon. I wanted to train with almost the same weapon I might carry in combat. If I was downrange and armed with my personal AR instead of an issued weapon, I wouldn’t feel the least bit uncomfortable with it.

When someone says, “But the AR isn’t fully automatic,” I respond, “So what?” In a rifle, full auto fire has limited tactical worth. It’s not often that we fire our weapons on burst (currently issued M16s and M4s fire 3 round burst, not full auto) because it’s inaccurate and burns a lot of ammo. We emphasize carefully aimed fire, not “spray and pray” like the Taliban. We often make fun of our enemies, and sometimes our allies, because of their tendency to dump rounds on full auto every time they pull a trigger. A fully automatic rifle certainly can be a useful tool, but isn’t a drop-dead necessity in combat. And among poorly supplied fighters, it quickly depletes meager stocks of ammo.

As far as I’m concerned, ARs are for all practical purposes military weapons. But before any of my gun-rights brothers accuse me of betraying the cause, let me follow up with this statement: there’s nothing wrong with the fact that they’re military weapons. It’s a good thing.

Despite what the Huffington Post or Mother Jones publishes, the 2nd Amendment isn’t about hunting or sport shooting. It’s about the citizens’ right to resist tyranny. About 5 seconds of Googling turns up this quote, among many others, on Wikipedia:

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.” -Noah Webster (writing under the nom de plume of “A Citizen of America”), An Examination Into the Leading Principles of the Constitution (October 17, 1787)

Noah Webster and his fellow founding fathers wanted us to be armed in order to resist government tyranny should the need arise. Therefore, it follows that we have the right to possess weapons capable of resisting tyrannical government forces. An AR gives the citizen that capability.

Anti-gun people typically say at this point, “You think you can fight the government? Well then you’d have to own tanks, airplanes, machine guns and nuclear bombs. If you just had rifles, you wouldn’t have a chance.”

No we don’t need to own tanks, fighter planes and nuclear weapons, and yes we would have a chance. Insurgents who are often armed only with AKs have been giving us a pretty good fight for more than ten years. Even with our overwhelming air and indirect fire assets, we haven’t rolled over the Taliban. They operate among the population, travel light, strike quickly and melt away, just like rebels in America would. Air strikes and artillery don’t do much good if you can’t figure out where to put them.

Those who insist Americans armed only with rifles would be helpless against a professional military consistently ignore the lengths our military goes to in order to avoid civilian casualties. Whenever someone in the anti-gun camp insists our military would respond to a single rifle shot with a brutal onslaught of weaponry, I remind them we don’t even do that overseas. I’ve been in a couple of firefights where the Taliban were shooting from houses, and we couldn’t use supporting arms to hit those houses. In Afghanistan, and here, killing civilians only strengthens resistance against us. We tried to avoid killing civilians from another culture in another country, so why does anyone think our military wouldn’t care about civilian casualties in America?

Besides that, rebels or insurgents in any conflict don’t always have to win. Sometimes they just have to delay or inhibit government forces. Sometimes they only have to make a point.

I’ve read a lot of comments and articles from the anti-gun side, and I’m fairly certain the next comment coming from many of their mouths is, “This guy is a paranoid psycho who thinks the government is coming for his guns.” No, I’m not. As a cop, I know better than most how impossible that would be. I don’t accuse the current administration of tyranny and have never referred to our President as a tyrant. A review of my blog posts will prove that. I think many on the pro-gun side are too quick to throw out words like “dictatorship”. Our government is far from becoming a dictatorship.

An unknown, very intelligent man said we can resist tyranny with the soap box, ballot box and ammo box. We’re nowhere near the ammo box, and I can’t see us reaching for it for in my lifetime. But I understand the Bill of Rights wasn’t written only for the 1700s, or only the 1800s, or 1900s, or 2013. It was written to address immutable human nature. Noah Webster and his friends knew that once humans have power, there is always a danger that they’ll abuse or illegally expand that power.

“Whereas civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as military forces, which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.” -Tench Coxe, Federal Gazette, June 18,1789, A friend of James Madison, writing in support of the Madison’s first draft of the Bill of Rights

We Americans have a right and duty to resist tyranny, should it arise. We keep military weapons in order prevent our government from becoming tyrannical, and to fight back if it does. Those who wish to remove military weapons from our hands, on the pretext that “you don’t need them for hunting or home defense”, are woefully ignorant of the basis for the 2nd Amendment. Or more likely, they think the 2nd Amendment is stupid and obsolete, and maybe even wish for total gun confiscations but know better than to admit it publicly. Either way, they’re no friend to our freedom.

If someone angrily tells one of my pro-2nd Amendment friends that an AR is a “weapon of war”, I’d ask them to proudly respond, “You’re damn right it is.” When law-abiding, sensible citizens buy and shoot ARs and AKs, they’re not presenting a threat to the public or to the government. They’re exercising their rights exactly as Noah Webster and Tenche Cox hoped they would.

That’s not something we should be ashamed of.

 

This post originally appeared at chrishernandezauthor.com and is reprinted here with permission. Chris is an active law enforcement officer in Texas who splits his time between military and police work. He’s also the author of Proof of Our Resolve.

101 Responses to ARs Are Weapons of War. So What?

  1. avataranonymous says:

    “I have no trouble with my enemies. I can take care of my enemies in a fight. But my friends, my goddamned friends, they’re the ones who keep me walking the floor at nights!”

  2. avatarArete13 says:

    After TTAG posted another of Chris’s blog posts yesterday, I ended up on his site reading the rest of his posts. I was glued to my computer for hours. I recommend everyone heading over their and checking out his writing and opinions. Great stuff.

  3. avatarstyrgwillidar says:

    I believe the unknown man was Frederick Douglas, a variant of his actual quote:

    A man’s rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.

    -Frederick Douglass in a speech delivered on November 15, 1867

  4. avatarFrank Williams says:

    Sure the AR is a weapon of war. So were the muskets some gun grabbers say are the only arms the Second Amendment applies to. If it applies to one weapon of war, why can’t it apply to others?

  5. avatarMaynard Biggs says:

    The most popular hunting rifle for the last 100 years started life as a weapon of war — the bolt action rifle.

    • avatarDJ says:

      And let’s not forget that body armor with SAAPI plates will stop 5.56mm. A .30-06, 7.92mm Mauser or 7.62x54R – maybe, maybe not. A kevlar probably won’t stop any of those (thought it might also not stop M855). Those old military bolt actions have a lot more power than 5.56mm.

    • avatarSpoons Make You Fat says:

      The Home Defense Rifle

      We’ve all heard the AR-15 called by different names. Some of them we like, some we don’t.

      Modern Sporting Rifle doesn’t really work for people who don’t hunt or compete. Patrol Rifle might be fine for the tacticool crowd. Grabbers prefer the term Assault Weapon. And if we’re feel like mocking the grabbers we might call them Scary Black Rifles. The list goes on…

      My point is that none of these terms really seem to resonate. They don’t describe the purpose of many rifles and they sure don’t catch the attention of your average fence-sitting Joe (or Jane). Instead, it’s time to call them what they are:

      Home Defense Rifle.

      My Home Defense Rifle (HDR) is patterned after the rifles used by our military. It also is similar to the defensive rifles used by many police departments. But it has been de-tuned for safe use by average people who may not have had advanced training.

      Unlike the fully automatic, short-barreled rifles used by our military and police, the HDR only fires one bullet each time the trigger is pulled. It also must have a barrel of at least 16″ unless the owner has special permission from the federal government to have one shorter. Because of these changes the HDR is suitable for private ownership and use.

      The HDR has other uses, including hunting and varmint control. It makes a great sporting rifle. Unfortunately the HDR, like many tools, also has been used for criminal purposes. This is not the fault of the HDR. Criminals use and abuse knives, bats, shovels, cars and all sorts of other everyday items. The fault is with the criminal, not the tool.

      HDRs are accurate rifles that deliver minimal recoil after firing. This means there is a lower likelihood of firing bullets where they are not intended. It also means the person pulling the trigger can more quickly return to aiming at the target after each shot. HDRs can be customized by the owner to provide the exact fit and features needed. The result is a versatile tool that is ideally suited for home defense.

      Many people choose to have an HDR in their home. In fact, there are over 3 million HDRs in the U.S. But its primary use, for me, is in defense of self, family and home.

      • avatarGreg says:

        I call mine a defensive carbine however I like the cut of your jib.

        • avatarJoseph says:

          Why can we not be satisfied with just calling them what they are?
          My AR is my Rifle. If I feel the need to clarify further then it becomes “My semi-auto rifle.” That’s where the terminology should end in my opinion.

  6. avatarWoody says:

    Thank you for this. I’m not afraid of this administration, or even the next one, but of the one years or decades after, which will not hesitate to abuse an unarmed and dependent citizenry.

    • avatarRick F says:

      This, right here, is what it’s all about. Thank you, Woody.

      …and thanks to Mr. Hernandez for this excellent essay.

  7. avatarGladstone Payton says:

    Nothing more to be said. Excellent, without being paranoid or doom prepper fetishist. Just common sense, logic and historical facts.

  8. avatarCrazed Java says:

    My biggest gripe is the gun grabber screed of “We have to take Weapons of War off the street”.

    It implies that these weapons can only be used for killing and also that they are commonly used for criminal purposes.

    While the AR-15, like many firearms, has a military origin it has been adapted for other uses.

    Despite some very high profile shootings, it is rarely employed in crime.

    I hate the liberal screed about a “weapon of war” because it is an effective emotional appeal to non-gun owners that make it look as though there is no legitimate purpose to own an AR-15. That emotional appeal is what we need to counter because I think gun rights advocates underestimate how effective it is.

    • avatarMatt in FL says:

      “I hate the liberal screed about a “weapon of war” because it is an effective emotional appeal to non-gun owners that make it look as though there is no legitimate purpose to own an AR-15.”

      The point of this entire post is that the fact that it is a weapon of war is the most legitimate reason for citizens to own one.

      • avatarAccur81 says:

        My concern is that a “weapons of war” means essentially the same thing as an “assault weapon.” The liberal talking points and use of language are very effective in this move towards “common sense” gun control. Politicians know that most voters will not take the time or effort to understand the truth about responsible firearm ownership, the world history of civilian disarmament, or the effectiveness of a firearm in the hands of a good guy. Since many voters can be kept in check with an emotional argument, that is exactly what is put forth. That, and the facts simply don’t support infringement.

        In the end, laziness and ignorance of the common voter is just as dangerous as the intentional misrepresentation of language. Simply put, I believe our side – the side of facts and reason – needs a whole lot more heart. Cool and calm works for CCW holders, soldiers, and cops. The liberal mom, not so much. Ditto for many in the inner cities.

        The AR and M16 have a whole lot in common, just like the Beretta M9, 1911, .30-06, .308, etc. all have battlefield origins. I would be interested to see a whole article on arms that have moved from the battlefield into our gun safes.

        But even more so, freedom loving Americans need stories that tug at the heart strings.

        • avatarCrazed Java says:

          Exactly my point. We can argue semantics all day long with gun grabbers and ultimately lose the battle of public opinion. While we are trying to argue clips and assault weapons the anti-gunners never stop with the propaganda.

          I feel like we are forever picking the wrong battle.

    • avatarJMS says:

      When they say “get them off the street” I think, yes, finally, somebody listening to the NRA and others. Finally some “common sense.” Stop try to legislate against the guns in my home and go after the guns actually on the streets. Go after the criminals. Arrest, prosecute, etc. Legislating against law abiding citizens does not get guns off the street. Getting guns out of our homes does nothing. How about we concentrate on what “on the streets” actually means, and start using the laws that are on the books to do something about it and hold accountable those people who illegally carry, deal in, and use guns “on the street.”

  9. avatarGlennF says:

    Well spoken. And, Mr. Hernandez, thank you for your service to our country & your apparent love & attendant respect for the Constitution.

  10. avatarMatt in FL says:

    “…because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.”

    At the risk of playing into Ivy Mike’s line of reasoning, which has been very quiet lately, this was because back then they didn’t believe in a standing army. I’m not so sure this clause would be true anymore. Could regular citizens hassle the hell out of our military, if it was turned against us? Could it be a serious thorn in their sides? Sure. But I don’t believe you could any longer make the statement “a force superior to any bands of regular troops” with any legitimacy.

    • avatarRoadrunner says:

      I respectfully disagree, Matt in FL. If you figure roughly 80 million gun owners, and just a quarter of that, it would far outnumber the military, most of whom when I served wouldn’t be eager to fight their own countrymen. Besides, remember when the Iraqi insurgents were too much for our military, at least according to the media, when the media was trying to help lose the war? Now they make a different calculation to suit a new argument.

      But the weapons of the 2nd Amendment are certainly weapons of a well regulated militia, and therefore military, and therefore weapons of war. The antis’ real problem with guns is the free state they ensure.

      • avatarThomas Paine says:

        see : Chris Dorner.

        • avatarPwrserge says:

          Dorner is a perfect case. It took every cop in SoCal to track him down. Imagine 20,000,000 men like him loose.

        • avatarAccur81 says:

          Not every cop in SoCal – I was at home changing poopy diapers!

        • avatarRalph says:

          Smart man, Accur81. If I found out that a 6′, 270 lb. psycho with a gun is after me, I’d be home changing my own diapers.

        • avatarStinkeye says:

          Heck, Pwrserge, it wouldn’t take 20 million rebels. If we take the Dorner case as typical, where it took a couple hundred cops to get him in the final hours, with less than a million LEOs in all of America, it should only take a few thousand rebels to tie up all the law enforcement resources in the country!

          If the LAPD’s marksmanship and target identification skills are typical, they’ll run out of ammo long before they manage to stop a couple hundred rebels…

    • avatarjwm says:

      Matt, unless the regulars are willing to level American cities, the same cities they were raised in and have families in, we citizens can raise hell with them. I was a regular as were many TTAG people. We were not raised in the Hitler youth, we were part of those communities.

      In the unlikely event of an American civil war fully half or more of the people in uniform would either defect to our side or work from the inside to negate the effectiveness of the military. If you don’t think military people can go on “strike” you’ve never been in a unit afflicted with poor leadership and morale. There’s lots of ways to take a unit off line without winding up in a ucmj moment.

      • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        BTW, This question was asked and answered in the ’94 timeframe. For real – by a naval officer doing a study on the matter. Asked a bunch of Marines at Twenty Nine Palms The Question.

        The answers came back just as you said, and the conclusion of the officer doing the study was the same as yours: Loss of unit cohesion, combat ineffective… and worse.

    • avatarMatt in FL says:

      I stand corrected.

  11. avatarJohn says:

    I suppose that’s a good point.

  12. The catch is that the ‘weapon of war’ rhetoric is part of the disinformation campaign to paint the AR15 as a ‘machinegun.’ Many, if not most, people think that it is.

    The AR15 isn’t a weapon of war, but it’s the closest thing we have.

    http://www.grumpypundit.com/2013/01/defending-the-indefensible/

    • avatarSixpack70 says:

      Pretty good writeup from the grumpy pundit. I posted it in facebook for all of my only cops should have guns friends.

  13. avatarJAS says:

    “Weapon of War” is a purely semantic term with no concrete meaning. Any weapon, whatever it might be, that is used in war is by definition a “Weapon of War”. Clubs, axes, swords, fists, rocks, you name it. Weapons are defined by their immediate use, not by their looks, nor past or future use.

    So, in a sense ALL WEAPONS, can at one time or another be labeled a “Weapon of War” See how silly this all is?

    If I use a gun to prevent a violent act without having to fire a shot, can I call it a “Weapon of Peace”?

    • avatarCrunkleross says:

      Weapon of Peace sounds good to me. The AR15\M16 has been bringing peace to countries all over the world for decades. I can imagine a flag with the AR silhouette and the words “Bringing Peace to the World”.

  14. avatarAharon says:

    Thanks for voicing this post that is needed. I agree and have been thinking about this subject lately. While the AR can be used to hunt deer or in some cases for home defense (not in an urban environment please) it really is far closer to a military weapon the automatic vs. semi-auto issue aside. Why avoid the truth or be ashamed to admit it? Why keep dancing around pretending the AR is for hunting, fun target shooting, or the zombie-apocalypse? The 2A is first and foremost a recognized political right to defend ourselves from foreign and domestic government driven tyranny. If people want to reduce the demand by citizens for ARs then they need to reduce the spread of government and police power and intrusion into our lives, and to stabilize the national debt and our currency. We recognize ourselves as free citizens. The AR is the best choice to own for the current crisis our country is facing. End of story.

    • avatarUnapolgeticallyAmerican says:

      The AR is the most popular rifle used in practical sport shooting. You would be hard pressed to find someone not using an AR variant in any 3-gun match.

    • avatarSpoons Make You Fat says:

      What do you use for home defense? Choose your firearm wisely, but also your rounds.

  15. avatarDJ says:

    Well said!

  16. avatarJason says:

    I agree with this post. In the past Foghorn had written about how today’s hunting rifles are yesterday’s military rifles. And that the AR is simply a modern rifle with many compelling features that make it good for certain types of hunting.

    While I don’t disagree with Foghorn on premise, it just comes off as trying to make an excuse for why we want to own an AR. Nobody on the anti-gun side is going to even understand that line of reasoning and it puts us on the defensive. I don’t think we need to make excuses so I agree much more with Zimmerman on this.

  17. avatarTommy Knocker says:

    As Michael Bane has pointed out many times, firearms technology was invented as technology of war. It happens to have uses to the non-military population. The genie was let out of the bottle 1000 years ago.

    The argument over military/non-military to me is meaningless. It would be like arguing over the proper use of a sharpened blade. Is it a bayonet/killing machine or a tool for Chef Morimoto? Neither, it is a sharpened piece of metal. The full auto vs. semi argument is a legal one. If this were back in 1929 you could buy either at the hardware store. It is law that now makes the artificial distinction. Human nature and language makes it easy to get sucked into this tet-a-tet.

    There can be an endless set of semantic barriers set up by those afraid of liberated people.
    Bigger than .50 cal? – it can shoot down aeroplanes
    How about speed of the projectile? – it can penetrate body armor
    How about an energy level (heck IDPA has power levels right)? – it can go right thru a house
    How about length of barrel (oh we have that already LOL)? – its either a sniper rifle or its too concealable
    How about how much plastic is in the unit? – its undetectable
    How about the price of the gun? – its a Saturday nite special
    How about the chemical content of bullet? – did you know the ATF actually DOES regulate this? Only so much copper, tin etc – its dangerous to the environment or armor piercing
    Finally I’ll suggest that if we dig our heels in on semi’s expect the other side to come up with a cyclic rate distinction. – there needs to be a “pause” between shots cause otherwise its “like” full auto
    and on, and on, and on……

    It is a losing battle to engage in such semantic sword fights. The only words that matter are “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED”.

  18. avatarBob says:

    One of the biggest reasons the Afghan people have successfully resisted 2 super-powers is because they are directly fighting for their own families, houses and land. They’ll fight to the death for that. The invaders are fighting for a measly paycheck and a superior that they probably hate.

    For this same reason, if it comes to a fight against the U.S. government, the government doesn’t have a chance in hell.

  19. avatarPatrick says:

    How many people have to die because of state intervention in economy, health care, agriculture, personal defense, education, for it to be considered a dictatorship? I would say, in contrast to the author, that it already is. People can live happy, productive lives under a dictatorship, but that doesn’t mean that it is acceptable, or not a dictatorship.

    Is dictatorship measured by amount of freedoms lost? One can argue that all of the Bill of Rights have been broken. Certainly the second in the bill is no longer in effect. “Infringed” means inhibited or being the object of interference. The first “gun control” law removed in effect the second amendment, a declaration of the state that arms interference is not something the state will do to the people. We can begin to protect the second amendment only once we get it back, which is to eliminate all Union gun legislation.

    “Pro gun” people need to stop pretending like the 2A still exists, as long as +10 capacity magazines, concealed carry, “assault” features such as a pistol grip on a rifle, etc. aren’t banned. I’m with you on these issues, but it’s largely out of pragmatism; the second amendment is long gone.

    Unfortunately, nearly every citizen in the USA does not actually believe in the second amendment. If you don’t believe that it is relevant today, that full auto and freedom from state mandates is not allowable, then be consistent and try to repeal the amendment. If you do believe it is relevant, then try to eliminate all of the state’s infringement on arms bearing.

    • avatarAlphaGeek says:

      You keep using this word, “dictatorship”.
      I do not think that word means what you think it means.

      • avatarSpoons Make You Fat says:

        You fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is “never get involved in a land war in Asia”. But only slightly less well-known is this: “Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line”! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha…

      • avatarPatrick says:

        Ok, I did get confusing on the last line of paragraph 1. My point in the first two paragraphs was to question whether a “dictatorship”, referenced in the article, results from a lack of freedom, loss of assets or life, or both, and how much of those things must be lost to be considered a dictatorship.

        99% of people locked in isolated steel cages and forced to do manual labor = dictatorship

        .1% of population collecting 1% of produced goods to pay for protection from invading armies = not dictatorship

        Where’s the line?

    • avatarjwm says:

      Patrick, In my opinion, if we lived in a dictatership we would not be able to read and comment on sites like TTAG. This is a tad more freedom than a dictator would allow. And even living in California I have access to a wide array of weapons, something most dictators don’t allow.

      • avatarPatrick says:

        jwm/AlphaGeek:
        I always thought that to dictate means to issue a command which is to be followed, for example to speak and have a scribe write one’s words. Most dictionaries call dictatorship something like “absolute rule”. This of course can never exist in a human, as that human requires assistants to carry out his commands, and those assistants could turn against him. I don’t know about what most people think, dictionary editors or others, when they hear this word.

        I was using the word in my comment because of the author’s reference to a lack of national dictatorship. I think there are arguments for and against the idea that the American state is currently a dictatorship, but I won’t be making either argument.

        The important thing to consider, when deciding how far a state can go while still not being a dictatorship, is my first question/sentence in my comment. A dictatorship generally tells people what to do regarding many aspects of their lives, in many cases forces people to do those things, and in the end causes much pain, death, unhappiness, and dehumanization or feeling of a lack of freedom. The current American state has certainly caused those things, maybe not enough to be labeled the ‘D’ word, but certainly quite a bit, if not a lot.

        On one hand, the state’s interference with health care has vastly increased prices and encouraged beliefs about nutrition and treatment methods which, in my humble opinion, are not the best. The state’s weapons infringement has made defense more difficult and has made criminal opportunity more abundant. The state’s regulation of the media helps to prevent opposition to the above, among other things.

        On the other hand, as jwm pointed out, we can still have a wide variety of weapons, and not living in steel cells controlled by the state, we can make our own weapons (if we wanted), access the Internet, compete in markets to provide lower and lower actual prices, still advancing computer technology, etc. despite the retardation of the economy by the state. Even in the UK three round shotguns are “legal” (though regulated) I believe and, not wanting to sound like Joe Biden, I would say a shotgun with two rounds can do a lot to prevent home invasion/homicide (not that something with two rounds is my tool of choice).

  20. avatarBig C says:

    I am hard pressed to think of many types of firearms that weren’t used as weapons of war at some point in time. Over-under shotguns, maybe? Just about every firearm has been used in war, even ‘lowly’ .22lr guns.

    Help me out here. Can anyone who knows more about historical guns than I do name a class of firearms not used in war in an official capacity?

    • avataruncommon_sense says:

      Every class of firearm that I can think of was used in war. Let’s review:
      handguns:
      – revolvers: both single and double action
      – semi-auto pistols: 1911s and others
      long guns:
      – shotguns: pump action (double barrel???, semi-auto???)
      – rifles: muskets, lever action, bolt action, semi-auto (pump action???)
      carbines: semi-auto, full auto, sub-machine guns

      So I would say yes, just about every class of firearm, if not every class of firearm, was/is a weapon of war.

  21. avatarzbaer says:

    Two birds with one stone. I couldn’t agree more. Just being a machine gun doesn’t mean my AR isn’t a weapon of war. It just means I wish it had the rock and roll switch. And the difference is an important one, but it’s hard to get technical with the “shoulder thing that goes up” crowd. As far as resisting tyranny, anti-government forces would actually would be more poorly served by using larger weapons. Bombs and grenades are indiscriminate and more likely to cause civilian casualties while military/police would be protected by their armored vests.

    Additionally, I don’t think the military would be politically reliable enough to be sent against Americans, even if they decided to ignore the Posse Comitatus Act. The National Guard would be a better bet, their usefulness would heavily depend on which state they’re from. And as we’ve already seen, many Sheriff’s departments are pro-2A. That leaves the disarmament crowd with local police, some National Guard units, and federal law enforcement. None of which had nukes last time I checked.

    • avatarSill says:

      And their favored sons wearing the queer sky blue headgear. From euro/etc and with engrained hate for the US.

      • avatarzbaer says:

        The UN/NATO has no airlift capacity of which to speak, instead choosing to rely on the US Air Force, just like they do for tanking. Neither do they posses any kind of serious amphibious capability. The Atlantic and Pacific are just as wide now as they’ve always been.

  22. avatarDave says:

    I’ve always felt that the main purpose of the 2nd Amendment, to be one of a number of checks and balances our Consitution sets up, could conceivably still be fulfilled with a ban on handguns, but never a ban on rifles. Of course, handguns are still essential for self-defense and nothing I want to see messed with, but rifles are even more sancrosanct in my mind.

    • avatarSpoons Make You Fat says:

      No “/s” tag after that first sentence? The rest is just window dressing IMO.

      • avatarDave says:

        If rifles were outlawed, the “defense against tyranny” aspect of the 2nd Amendment would be entirely gutted, and no other type of firearms could restore it. That’s why I get really riled up by the proposed “assault rifle” bans or the idea that they would be registered in some States. The guns most relevant to the “defense against tyranny” should never be registered. And yes, it’s just my opinion.

        • avatarSpoons Make You Fat says:

          OK, I’m good with “it’s… my opinion”. Because I was about to ask how to figure out which “guns [are] most relevant to the ‘defense against tyranny’”.

          The thing is, our RKBA is an extension of the idea that Self Defense is a Human Right. Defense against tyranny is, reasonably, an advanced form of self defense.

        • avatarDave says:

          My logic is that rifles are the most essential firearms for the “defense against tyranny” because of their long range and high accuracy.

          You have to consider where I come from. I went through the onerous pistol permit process in Upstate New York back in the 80′s, which left a distinct taste of a right having been turned into a privilege. I consoled myself back then that as long as the rifles were still freely available, the 2nd Amendment wasn’t dead in the State of NY. Of course, the gun-grabbers never stop, and things have gotten a lot worse there since then.

          I have always regarded the “defense against tyranny” and defending oneself and one’s family against common criminals as two separate possible uses of firearms. The way you see it, the two are tied together, which is an interesting idea I will need to think about.

  23. avatarBlaxsun says:

    Excellent article!

  24. avatarGCT says:

    Like so many firearms of the past, most poeple that enjoy target shooting or hunting buy a firearm they learned to use in the military. I am an ole timer and served in Vietnam with an m14 and later a M16. I took an M16 later in Iraq. I bought an AR15 because like so many generations before me I am comfortable with the system. All of our great rifles are products of war fighting in one form or the other.

    My father who fought in WW2 and later the Korean conflict happens to own a m1 garand and the m1 carbine. Nothing changes if you look back throughout history. Most people that served end up buying the same type of firearm they are familiar with.

    My family also ranches and the Ar is a great coyote rifle. From time to time we have to keep coyotes and wild dogs for that matter from killing our newborn calves. We even have donkeys to help with the predators, lol they are names eddie and jackie and they do help.

    When I go deer hunting I use a sig 710 and I love it. Great rifle for hunting and the recoil is no where close to a standard rifle. I had almost given up on deer hunting until I bought the new sig last year. Arthritis in the shoulders really really hurts after shooting my 30-06. When bringing the rifle to the hunt this year some of my hunting buddies thought I was nuts until they actually shot the rifle and now some have gone out and bought the same type of system.

    Someday in the future a new firearm will be bought that replaced the AR as the primary system used by the military. I come here daily and read this site. Very seldomly will I post. We have allowed our media and politicians define us and rational concrete arguements like the video from fox with the judge is what is truly needed.

    I think what pisses me off the most is this country needs jobs not more people laid off because political agenda. The media will not discuss the need to get rid of the gun free zones, even though 20 of the 21 mass shootings have happened in gun free zones. I am sure someone will read this and call me evil or those jobs are evil and yet ignore the facts of rifle related crime. What needs to happen is a job related story on how many will lose their jobs and how many will lose thier jobs that support this system. I think you will find money talks and Americans need their jobs.

    Sorry for the long post.

  25. avatarBrad says:

    Good article. Honest and truthful to the core issue of what is the difference between an AR and what is a M16. Really, nothing. Something many pro-gunners try hard to differentiate. Not really sure why unless their version of the 2nd amendment is, “Guns are for hunting and sporting purposes.” Which is a losing argument by the way and one destined to constantly backfire on us as a whole.

    My version of the 2A falls more in line with the citizen militia being a guarantee against government tyranny. We’re supposed to have similar, if not superior weaponry. At least in terms of personal armarment.

    As for my M16A2 rifle being full-auto (3rd burst), I never used that function unless I wanted to waste ammo. A smart rifleman only uses semi-auto. So my civilian M4 clone and my USMC issue M16 really only differed in barrel length. That and the fact that unlike my M4 clone which has only been mine and is very well taken care of, the Marines who had my issued M16 before me, beat the shit out of it and it was well-worn.

  26. avatarIrideducs says:

    When I get into discussions with the local hoplophobes, they always resort to “so do you think private individuals should be allowed to have fighter jets and nuclear weapons?” My response is that a citizen has the right, if they choose to exercise it, to be as well armed as any modern infantryman. Weapons of war/peace that are commonly used by the standing army should be available to the citizen/militia. Anything else is an infringement of our rights. Period full stop. The writer of this article is exactly right – weapons of war/peace are included (and essential) to the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

    • avatarSill says:

      To recall our nation when the Constitution/Bill of Rights was written. You may recall why the Brits marched on Concord. To include siezing the “crewserved” weapons and collective armory owned by a COMMUNITY.

      The tyrants of 1775 were not marching to sieze a citzen’s “individual weapons”. They were out to assert (a new theory in king George’s North America) that a COMMUNITY of free citizens might not possess heavy weapons (cannon etc). In fact it was expected/required that milita arm themselve with such needed (as they determined and could afford) heavy weapons for community security from injuns etc and to participate in the wars of the king.

      So who/where is it asserted that your town/city/county/state ought not/can’t own a MaDuece, 81mm, Bradley, AH1 etc?

      • avatarAlphaGeek says:

        These days, that’s called the SWAT Team.

        No armored SWAT vehicles in my city, but there are plenty of SWAT organizations which have them. Pretty sure full-auto M4 carbines are the de facto SWAT firearm these days, but fortunately none of them have figured out how to justify an M2 .50 mounted on the armored vehicles…

  27. avatarRalph says:

    If the neutered, semi-only AR-15 is a weapon of war, then what isn’t? Grandaddy’s old scoped Remington 700 is an M24 sniper rifle. Your Colt 1911 range toy is a miitary sidearm. I could go on, but what would be the point. “Weapons of war” is just advertising copy. The only meaning the phrase has is the one attached to it by the gungrabbers and wingnuts in order to frighten a nation of squib loads.

    The AR is just a rifle. It’s not a weapon of anything unless it’s turned on a human being, just like fertilizer isn’t a weapon of mass destruction unless somebody uses it for that purpose. The AR is just a rifle. Period.

    • avatarJack says:

      That’s a good point. The problem is that people who don’t care to know anything about guns will take terms like “weapons of war” and “assault weapons” at face value. They don’t recognize (or care) that they’ve been influenced by propaganda. I would not use these terms in any discussion without prefacing them with “so-called,” because I don’t want to feed the propaganda machine. I generally use “semiautomatic rifle.”

      If we accept those inflammatory terms, and then try to introduce the concept of resisting tyranny as this article suggests, we’re just going to reinforce the bigoted notion that gun owners are crazy and dangerous. It doesn’t matter that we believe we’re right; anti-gun people believe they’re right.

      I think the best approach to the subject is to say that semiautomatic rifles are popular and widely owned now–and if the police carry them, they can’t be made solely for the purpose of killing as many people as possible.

  28. avatarJim B says:

    Yes! I agree with you 100% and am sick of hearing gun people deny that an AR is a military weapon and then try to prove it is a hunting rifle by shooting a penned elk in Texas. Yeah, that really convinces people. All that does is give ammo to the other side and irritate many real hunters.

    An AR is a weapon designed to kill people. So what? So is an S&W .40 M&P. That is what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the Second Amendment. Guns, as far as the Second Amendment is concerned are for self-defense and for protection from the tyranny of the government. Hunting has nothing to do with the Second Amendment.

    I also get a little tired of people saying we could never have tyranny here in the US since we have so many checks and balances. Tell that to the lynched blacks in the South, or the Cherokees on the Trail of Tears. Then there are the farmers of the Central Valley of California who had their land stolen from them by the railroads with the help of a corrupt government. I am sure some Americans of Japanese ancestry would consider their interment in concentration camps in 1942 tyranny.

    How about the striking miners in Ludlow, CO in 1914? If they hadn’t fought back with guns does anyone really think they wouldn’t have continued to be slaughtered not only in the mines but by the Colorado National Guard? It pains me to see that the people of Colorado seem to have forgotten this incident.

    The list of tyranny by the government at the local, state and federal level in this country is long. I have no doubt that there are those in government that would push even harder if they were certain that the people they were exploiting had no way to defend themselves.

    Yes! ARs are military weapons and we have a right to them. A constitutional right and if that offends some people too damn bad.

    • avatarjwm says:

      Calling those guys in Ludlow the Colorado national gaurd may be a stretch. It’s my understanding that this was a “unit” raised and financed by the mine owners to put down the strike. We talk a lot on this site abought the g overstepping itself, but in the old days when the g was small and weak things like citizens getting shot for standing up for their rights were not uncommon events.

      And private companies raising private armys and giving them titles like state militia happenend quite a bit also.

      • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        If there’s interest at some point, I can tell y’all more about that. Studying at Trinidad put me in close proximity to Ludlow (it’s literally “just up the road”) and local books by local authors strip quite a bit of the romantic union veneer off the accounts of what happened there.

  29. avatarJohn Doe says:

    I dislike the term “weapon of war” as much as I loathe “assault weapon” and other propaganda terms created by the gun grabbers. I think “battle implement” would be a more accurate term.

  30. avatarRandy Drescher says:

    I also like the “you just want the AR to kill people”. Yeah, most are just itchin to pick off elderly ladies with canes. The ones that deserve it? well, I’ve mentioned that a few times, Randy

  31. avatarWLCE says:

    so what if its a weapon of war? the springfield 1903 was a weapon of war. The M1 garand was a weapon of war. and single shot hunting rifles are derived from weapons of war.

    that argument, while it appeals to emotion, is all bullshit

  32. avatarFred says:

    Efficient designs are used most often in war because they are effective. Last I checked everyone likes to have “the best” whether it is a TV or a car. As a shooter I want the best designs so I can spend more time training to become effective to defend myself or compete. Why should we have to fight both an assailant and the design of our gun in a life-threatening encounter?

    Is it paranoid to want protection? Not according to the government that requires car insurance. Do people that get life insurance expect to die or commit suicide? Do only arsonists and pyromaniacs buy fire extinguishers? You buy things to use them, that’s the anti-gun argument, right? So why does using something mean malicious intent? Yeah, I bought a gun to use it, at a range and hopefully never for defense, just like everyone hopes they won’t have to cash in a life insurance check three years after taking out the policy. But we still seek out that protection. A firearm isn’t complete protection because it is active, though, so I have to do something to ensure effective use to avoid or make the event advantageous (aka survive with my property), whereas insurance is passive and only occurs after the event is over. I guess the anti-gunners just prefer passive means, it would explain an affinity to police response (police do a wonderful job, but they can’t be everywhere, nor does their presence mean protection, and more often than not arrive to fill out a report after the event is over).

    The anti-gun side calls us paranoid, yet they think every single gun owner is a criminal and psychopath on a random timer and so no one should have guns. They don’t want to take responsibility for themselves so they think no one should have that power, the power to defend yourself. They ignore the plain fact that actual psychopaths always have long lead times, usually have clear motives that build over years, were denied help or ignored, most times give clear indicators of their intentions, will stop at nothing in their goal, and their goal outweighs their life. Their defense is “sometimes people snap” when in fact the incidents we see on the news are the sick life goals of psychopaths planned for years. That should really anger every gun owner; we are being labeled as criminals, psychopaths, and “uppity” slaves too evil and ignorant to give up our guns for the good of the children.

  33. avatarJOE MATAFOME says:

    I just e-mailed S&W, Glock and Sig the boycott request. The Glock email came back as spam, so I changed the subject to respectful request and it went through.

  34. avatarAlphaGeek says:

    Si vis pacem, para bellum is a Latin adage translated as, “If you wish for peace, prepare for war” (usually interpreted as meaning peace through strength—a strong society being less likely to be attacked by enemies).

    Quoted from the Wikipedia article.

    I personally consider this concept to scale perfectly from applying to the policies of nation-states all the way down to the individual right of self-defense. It clearly expresses my desire for peace and to avoid the use of force, balanced with my willingness and well-regulated ability to use force in opposing those who would consider assaulting me, my family, my community, or my country.

  35. avatarLance says:

    I personally think we own and have a right to own AR-15s ect. IS that if the cops can carry one the people can too!!!!!!

  36. avatarNeez says:

    We have a few HUGE socio-economic problems coming in the future that’ll really determine the shape of our country and its politics.

    They are Peak Oil, and Food shortages relative to the population’s exponential increase. Put simply, we currently import about 65% of our food from out of country. Now imagine when oil prices skyrocket because easy to reach reserves are depleted, and it’s much harder to drill for oil. Experts are predicting Peak Oil to happen within 50-200 years depending on who you ask, but it’s a certainty that this will happen. How will that affect our food logistics??? How will we compensate??

    Throughout history, it has always been the poor, the have-nots, which rally for revolution. Nazi Germany, the Khmer Rouge, and pretty much all the communist movements for example. So take that into consideration, when the have-nots have more votes than the have’s. What do you think politicians will start promising? What do you think politicians will start giving up(like our freedoms), to help keep things under control?

    It’s when this trend starts to happen, when some men have too much power, and a very large group of people with nothing to lose willing to rally to their promises, that tryanny has room to happen.

    We need to keep our gun rights for as long as we can. Because for as much as our country has evolved into a somewhat ideal society today. It has the real chance of evolving into something else later. That something else could be better, or could be worse.

  37. avatarBWaldo says:

    I think the best thing to do when a gun grabber pulls the whole “weapons of war” thing point out that the exact same things that make an ar-15 an effective combat weapon an effective home defense, hunting, and sporting gun. Then point out that the bolt action rifles that they deem “acceptable” were cutting edge military technology just being introduced to the domestic market about a hundred years ago. If you want to go farther back I would suggest the DaVinci wheel lock.

    • avatarJWhite says:

      “If you want to go farther back I would suggest the DaVinci wheel lock.”

      If you can keep their attention long enough…

  38. avatarJerryboy says:

    if you think we’re far from the cartridge box, i have a bridge to sell you. we are already far past the point where we should’ve resorted to it. our grandfathers and great-grandfathers should have in 1934, and again in 1968, and later in 1986. just because they “only” come for the machineguns, or the pistols, or the standard cap mags, or the AR-15s doesn’t change the fact that their end goals is to see us completely disarmed. the longer we wait to resist, the more advanced the government’s firepower will become, the weaker ours will become, and the less likely that armed resistance will be successful, or even possible.

  39. avatarJWhite says:

    I’ve been saying something similar to this.

    People all the time like to parrot the news by repeating the phrase “These guns are designed to kill, nothing more” to which I reply, “Yes that is 100% true, and I practice my skills as often as I can, so if I ever need to stop someone, I’m prepared and capable.” – I’m not sure why the focus on guns being instruments of death is such a big deal. If you can’t throw a stone at 1200FPS+ at a paper target, I’m pretty sure you could kill with that stone. Swap paper out with bones, and the stone doesn’t change. It doesn’t magically become a cotton ball.

    People just don’t like to hear that stuff, but it’s a reality, and it’s the truth.

    I’ve noticed that everyone who is anti 2A has a tendency to say something like “they aren’t coming for your guns” sure, I get it, they aren’t kicking in doors, and raiding people with registered firearms, but they are creating legislation and laws that would make legal LAC’s criminals, instead of stiffening the punishment for crimes involving guns. DUI with a gun? Add 3 years. Domestic violence with a gun? Add 5 years. Forcible rape while armed, add 10 years. Those are more preventative than limiting my ability to carry magazines of relatively standard capacity, or my ability to reload. Those kinds of laws don’t stop anyone from doing anything other than enjoying a sport.

    We all know how stupid the laws are, and I’m preaching to the choir, but let’s be honest. Take for example California. Here we have a law that says you can’t use a rifle with 2 features that DOESN’T require a tool to remove the magazine. If someone where to decide that going on a rampage was on the agenda for the day, what are the chances they would hamstring themselves by A) Magazine capacity, or B) removable magazine buttons/tools? I’m willing to get that in every instance of ACTUAL GUN CRIME, i.e armed robbery, gang shootings, something violent in nature; bullet buttons and magazine capacities are not followed. To remove, and replace, the bullet button or “fixed magazine” release, is a 5min part swap for even the least familiar person.

    If someone is determined enough to do such a thing, and the law required that the magazine be attached semi-permanently, lets say using epoxy or welding, the slightest sense of determination would, and could, circumvent these idiotic requirements.

    Why should it have to take me 3 minutes to reload? How does that keep me or anyone around me safe? If my rifle was stolen, how long would it be before the bullet button was replaced with a standard magazine release button? I’m willing to bet on it being very soon after, assuming they don’t just sell it immediately on the black market., and if they did manage to find a buyer, I don’t see that bullet button staying on there for much longer. Being in possession of a stolen gun, regardless if the magazine can be removed, is going to be a bigger crime than the method of which the rifle is loaded. It’s pretty straight forward.

    As for the arguments about “stopping people from kill as many people” – it’s pure nonsense. Adam Lanza was denied when he attempted to make a legal, OTC/FTF purchase. Having been denied he sought out other means of arming him self, tragically. So, in this case, the system did work; And I continue to remind people that, YES THE SYSTEM DOES WORK, when I went to purchase my first firearm, I was delayed by the DOJ, they had a couple of questions to ask me. I was surprised they had any, but none the less, I had to answer questions and so do many people who are delayed. After speaking with them, the hold was released and that was that. I haven’t had a problem since. This just goes to show that even simple things can toss a flag on the field, and I have no problem with that. In fact, I’m glad they checked into me, it tells me they’re doing their job, and a decent one at that.

  40. avatarswhit says:

    “…claimed nobody he knew in the military would ever carry an AR in combat.

    I call BS on that one. I carried a semiauto-only M14 in Afghanistan as my primary weapon.”

    But, an M14 or other designated marksmen rifles are semi-auto because they are chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO and meant for precise shooting.

    Even when all NATO service rifles were chambered in 7.62mm, few of them had a full auto capacity (like the UK L1A1 and the M14, for example). It was simply impractical.

    These are not, and were never truly assault rifles., which by definition had to be select fire enabled, AND fire an intermediate cartridge (7.92x33mm; 7.62x39mm; 5.56x45mm; 5.45x39mm, etc.) not full sized ammunition.

    In my humble opinion, I find the having military weapons as a defense aganist tyranny arguement to be a little too hypothetical. OK, entirely hypothetical. This is not a point of view that is going to beat mag bans.

  41. avatarShawn says:

    Most weapons can be traced back to some military inovation. If you were to ban weapons simply because they have this connection you would be left with nothing more than a pointy stick. The only question I have is how archaic the weapon needs to be before it can be peddled off on the general public?

  42. avatarBilly Wardlaw says:

    “I call BS on that one.”

    If you can search my post history, I have called BS on this too, so I’m right there with you. Most of the time in the service we fired controlled shots on semi-auto, anything else was a waste of ammo on patrols – let the SAW/M60 do the spraying, and only when it get hot and you need to get the hell out.

    But to your exact point, I agree…so what? Damn right its a weapon of war! I wouldn’t use it otherwise unless I had too. But words are weapons of war too, and we have a 1st amendment protecting those, just like we have a 2nd amendment protecting our more physical instruments.

  43. avatarRay says:

    Those who insist Americans armed only with rifles would be helpless against a professional military consistently ignore the lengths our military goes to in order to avoid civilian casualties. Whenever someone in the anti-gun camp insists our military would respond to a single rifle shot with a brutal onslaught of weaponry, I remind them we don’t even do that overseas. I’ve been in a couple of firefights where the Taliban were shooting from houses, and we couldn’t use supporting arms to hit those houses. In Afghanistan, and here, killing civilians only strengthens resistance against us. We tried to avoid killing civilians from another culture in another country, so why does anyone think our military wouldn’t care about civilian casualties in America?”

    If our rulers (presumably ones so dictatorial they provoke a large-scale armed revolt) ever felt personally threatened, you can bet that any scruples about civilian casualties will go right out the window.

    • avatarjwm says:

      Ray, the scruples of the leaders, if they ever had any may go out the door. But the best way they can lose the support of the rank and file troops is to order those troops to bring heavy weapons to bear on American cities. These soldiers have families in these same cities.

  44. avatarpat says:

    There is a problem with this article. We MUST state the difference between full auto and semiauto. The full auto in tandem with a ‘real’ high capacity magazine of 50-100 round drums can easily kill 100 or more people under the right conditions (where the bad guy may have chained the door/doors and sprayed a larger crowd with nowhere to go). Such a weapon is truly a dangerous device of limited benefit to a homeowner defensively, even if legal. I just want to have what the average cop has, not the military (well, I would like the military stuff, but I dont need it).

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  46. avatarEvan F says:

    Although many of you make excellent points, in the end you can call my rifle whatever you want….. It dosent matter where it got its origins from, or if the military currently uses a very similar select fire version of it, or if some idiot committed a horrible act against innocent people with it. The 2nd Ammendment protects me from having to explain why I choose to own a AR-15 or explain why I need a magazine that holds 30 rounds. I own it because I want to and that’s all you need to know. If some mentally unstable guy purposly drove his car at 55 mph through a group of children would politicians try to pass laws making it so that you can only legally own a car that can travel at a max speed of 35 mph? Someone once said “if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.” and even if you could get rid of every gun in America, someone wanting to cause harm to others can turn almost any object into a deadly weapon.

  47. avatarJohn Frazer says:

    When the military and police and politician’s bodyguards have only semi-auto with ten round mags, or 7, or 3, then I’ll accept that a semi-auto-only clone is a weapon of war.
    When we can have fully auto and ManPADS and anti-armor and short shotguns without special government permission or waiving 4th amendment rights when a Fed comes knocking, then what we have can be called military-grade or useful to a military.

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