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By Lee Williams 

When the hoplophobic paste-eaters at Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun agitprop factory, known as the Trace, team up with the stodgy window-lickers at the Gun Violence Archive to produce a story questioning the utility of the AR platform as a modern self-defense tool, it’s hard not to get too excited. 

It’s like watching two freight trains headed toward each other on the same track. You know the results are going to be cataclysmic, but you just can’t look away. None of these halfwits have ever heard a shot fired, much less one fired in anger, or especially one fired to good effect. They know less about what makes a reliable home-defense weapon than I do about man-buns, skinny jeans, or avocado toast. 

avocado toast
About the only thing an AR-15 isn’t good for is making avocado toast. (Shutterstock)

We have debunked The Trace and the Gun Violence Archive so often it’s getting old. The kids at The Trace masquerade as legitimate “journalists” when in fact they’re nothing more than well-paid anti-gun activists.

The GVA purports to track gun crimes and maintains a list of mass shootings, but their data is collected from media and even social media sources, and their stats are so inflated they’d have you believe a mass shooting occurs nearly every time someone draws from a holster.

When the two anti-gun nonprofits combine for a story, it’s bound to be something as bereft of facts as it is poorly written, and to that standard their most recent collaboration does not disappoint. The product of this collaboration is somehow even less than the sum of its parts. 

A story published this week asks: “How Often Are AR-Style Rifles Used for Self-Defense?” with a subhead of “Supporters of AR-15s, often used in mass shootings and racist attacks, say they’re important for self-defense. Our analysis of Gun Violence Archive data suggests otherwise.”

You don’t say.

The story was written by one of the Trace’s senior fabulists, Jennifer Mascia, who is “currently the lead writer of the Ask The Trace series and tracks news developments on the gun beat.” Mascia has also led the Trace’s hilarious we’re journalists, not activists, propaganda campaign on social media. 

The Trace’s Jennifer Mascia

Mascia claims her story was a response to a reader’s question: “Many gun owners claim to buy assault-style rifles for defense. So how many documented cases are out there where someone actually defended themselves with an assault-style rifle?”

Mascia reportedly searched the GVA’s data for the term “assault weapon,” which she said the GVA defines as “AR-15, AK-47, and all variants defined by law enforcement.” Of course, there’s no mention of whether the weapons were capable of select-fire and are therefore actual assault weapons, but that’s another story.

She started with 190 incidents, which she whittled down for various reasons. The results:

That left 51 incidents over a nine-and-a-half-year span in which legal gun owners brandished or used an AR-style rifle to defend life or property. That averages out to around five per year.

To be clear, I trust Mascia’s findings about as much as I trust the GVA data that produced the results. The whole story is a perfect exemplar of GIGO – garbage in, garbage out. 

It’s noteworthy that the firearms “expert” whom Mascia turns to further beclown herself — who wrote in a CNN story opining that the AR is the last gun he’d recommend for self-defense — is none other than former Washington D.C. police officer Michael Fanone. He’s the officer who cried a lot before the January 6 Commission, if that helps jog your memory. 

“I’m more familiar with the gun than most people: I own one. And one thing I know for sure is that this weapon doesn’t belong in the hands of the average civilian,” Fanone wrote of AR platform rifles in the CNN story. 

The network must have liked the cut of his jib. Fanone is now a CNN contributor and is hawking a new book: “Hold the Line: The Insurrection and One Cop’s Battle for America’s Soul.” (Nancy Pelosi highly recommends it.) 

Since he’s so afraid of the AR platform, I can’t help but wonder what weapon Fanone, or for that matter, Mascia, would recommend for home defense. If I had to guess, it probably has two barrels, a wooden stock and exposed hammers. 

I’m somewhat familiar with the AR myself, which is why I trust it to defend my hearth and home. It’s light, accurate, and deadly, which is exactly the point, and something we should stop making allowances for. 

Despite the exhortations of Bloomberg’s paid activists or weepy ex-cops, an AR is exactly what I want at hand when The Bad Man comes a-calling. 


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This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with their permission.

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  1. And we’re shocked, why? This one looks extremely knowledgeable about firearms and firearm related incidents…

  2. We need more colors in our ARs. Scary black rifles have got to go. Let’s see pink, yellow, orange, red, purple, and a zillion variants. Make the guns happy and gay – then we can yell words like “homophobe” along with “hoplophobe” at the anti-gun crowd.

    Who agrees? We need to end the Scary Black Gun Epidemic! With more pretty guns out there, everyone will want one as a fashion statement. Women can collect them like they already collect shoes!

    • Paul, apparently you have not been seeing there are different color schemes for AR-s I have two AR’s (one with “OD” furniture and the other black. Our Anti-gun control freaks don’t care about the color. All they care about is disarming the American people. Funny but neither of my AR-s have killed anyone.

  3. “That left 51 incidents over a nine-and-a-half-year span in..”

    first miss murderer-daddy-issues pretends she’s a journalist..then she makes up her own criteria for what to include or not from a biased and wrong source..and then she leaves out the other several thousand.

    • As nuts as you drive me with your devotion to the NRA sometimes, that comment right there really makes me want to buy you a beer sometime.

      • ChoseDeath, Sorry, but I rarely drink as I usually am carrying.
        Devoted to the NRA? No, but I do support them. Complain, moan and groan all you want but they have done yoeman’s work on protecting the 2nd Amendment.
        You people who complain want them to jump on every issue with no regard to spending. Think about it. If one group is attacking a particular issue, the NRA’s support is sufficient. IF it had not been for the NRA there would not have been Heller, McDonald or Bruen.

        • Or the nfa 34, or the gca 68, or, or,…….
          or a couple of rich tailors…..
          I say that and I’ve been a life member for over 40 years

        • Tired, each of those groups have contributed. And so has the NRA, in spite of what some here say. I don’t know about your tailors, though.

        • wayne la pew’s tailors was who I was referring to. He could do the same job in a $500 suit. No need for $10k outfits.

        • If it was not for the NRA, Chosedeath would have done chose death so long ago he probably would not have even been born yet, assuming he was true to the implications of his moniker. If you get my drift.

          I remember when the “progressives” were going to have ALL handguns and repeaters banned by 1985, at the latest…

          They got done in England. Thank the NRA for your guns, dude. The NRA and nobody else.

          Anybody don’t like Wayne, get involved and replace him.

        • XZX, Well said. The problem is that these nay-sayers who oppose the NRA are actually pissed that the NRA has so much sway with politicians and the American public. This is really about the almighty dollar and who controls the pro-gun message.

        • It has been forgotten by most of us. Brits used to have guns, gunshops, and factories making pistols, rifles, and ammo.. But then came the commies, and their bizarre allies in the aristocracy.

          THEY GOT IT DONE IN ENGLAND. No more weapons in civilian hands. Took them all, every single one. No 2A, no NRA, no right to self defense. Closed the shops. Hit a burglar with a stick, go to jail.

          If you are a rich aristocrat, you can hunt the Kings deer. Maybe. Farmers can have a shotgun for vermin, maybe. But keep the ammunition at the local constabulary…

          Thank the NRA, because you will miss them when they are gone, if your life has anything to do defense of home and family.


        • XZX yes it can, but only if the American people allow it. that is why it is up to us to keep up the good fight and keep people educated on the myth of “gun control”.

  4. An AR-15 is a poor choice for self defense *IF* your goal is to promote civilian disarmament. There, now their statement makes a lot more sense! Why do they always leave that second part off?

  5. Ya know back way back in 2020 BLM dropped off 7 busloads of “mostly peaceful protestors”© in a nearby town. Within ez walking distance. They proceeded to wreck(& loot)a shopping center with the pallet of bricks conveniently left next to a bus. I sure was glad I had an AR at the ready as they tried(and failed!)to wreck my town. 2A ain’t the bill of needs! Now ILLANNOY wants to remove the most effective tool to defend me & mine…25000000 of us aren’t wrong!

  6. funny how i can win tight stages in multigun with a 18″ barrel and ring targets out to 600yrds. what total bullshit; nothing they say is valid

  7. Gun Conrol zealots carrying on with an agenda Rooted in Racism and Genocide are not ones to be giving advice on self defense, etc. Listening to Gun Control zealots is like Blacks listening to their slave masters for advice on freedom and Jews listening to the nazi party for advice on self defense.

  8. So why, do government agencies refer to them as “Personal Defense Weapons” (PDW)
    when they buy them for their agents?

  9. Well, there are much better rifles, but a AR will do. Besides, they’re available and affordable. You can buy a decent one for less than $1000. So, there’s that.

  10. Anyone who knows anything about firearms or otherwise supports the 2A doesn’t read that garbage anyway. The Trace is pandering to brainless dweebs! It’s pointless to harp about the Trace posting horseshit lies when the only people who read it are Red Shirted ignorant hens and the like.

  11. 1 the ar15 is a weapon of war and literally cuts people in half

    2 the ar15 is terrible for self defense

    pick (one)

    theyre mutually exclusive

  12. Meanwhile in Philly a retired (elderly) Navy officer was jumped and stomped by group of ‘yuts’, IMO it was a racial attack. No knives, guns, just fists and feet that injure and kill more than the scary looking rifle, but alas Bloomidiot won’t tell the truth.

  13. There are already some 30 million AR and AK type weapons in general circulation…probably more.

    It doesn’t matter what these braying idiots want. The horse is out of the barn. They’ll never be able to confiscate them all and if they try, they’ll have to turn this country into a police state to do it.

    If these control freak liberals want to incite a real “insurrection” let them try.

  14. So, the 5.56mm chambered rifle is a poor choice for defense? So why are police depts., government agencies, and military personnel all issued the very same type of rifle, or at least rifles of the same caliber for that very purpose? Could it be the anti gun folks are lying to promote their agenda?

  15. I haven’t used my fire extinguisher in decades, but I still keep it handy. Besides it doesn’t matter why we keep these weapons. On the one hand they say that “Assault rifles” can kill dozens of people, and on the other hand that they are no good for shooting people.

  16. Seems pretty simple to me, if an AR isn’t good for self-defense, why is it commonly used in mass self-offense?

    Sorry you anti-gun douche bags, it works both ways.

    • If the AR is not good for defense then why do police use them?

      Is an ordinary citizen life less valuable than that of a police officer? That’s what anti-gun claims, directly and indirectly, in their rhetoric that its not a good defense firearm for citizens but somehow its a good defense firearm for police.

      anti-gun is on this current tend in courts to sway the courts that for an AR to be covered under the 2A it has to be in common use for self-defense…and not in common use for lawful purposes. Of course its failing overall, and will fail at SCOTUS, but as long as they can keep that narrative alive the can continue to feed sh&t to the mushroom public they keep in the dark so they can advance their agenda.

      • The 2nd A affirms the right to keep and bear arms. The USSC has held that “bear” means to carry.

        Arms can not be banned that are in common use.

        The USSC held: District of Columbia v. Heller (2008)

        The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes.

      • In a Supreme Court brief in US v. Rahimi, entitled “Second Amendment Law Scholars as Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioner”, a group of law professors assert that Bruen: “[i]f a firearm is in “common use” and can “facilitate armed self-defense,” then it is relevantly similar to the arms protected by the Second Amendment at the time of its adoption and the right to bear that weapon warrants constitutional protection.”

  17. “Many gun owners claim to buy assault-style rifles for defense. So how many documented cases are out there where someone actually defended themselves with an assault-style rifle?”

    To the ‘reader’ who asked that question…. there are lots of cases out there. You need to think about what defensive gun use is, its not always firing shots. Many such uses are brandishing and when the bad guy sees the rifle they run so no shots are necessary because overall gun owners are law abiding people and they know the limits defined in law and that limit basically states, in practical application. if the ‘threat’ is running away from you then you do not fire to employ deadly force. But brandishing the rifle and that act repelling/stopping the threat is also a defensive gun use of the AR/AK platform – these are overall not included in the GVA, even though it was necessary and valid and legal firearms defense to repel the threat.

    There are several thousands of these every year with AR/AK platform rifles. They never appear at GVA which is where this pretend journalist Jennifer Mascia pulled her number after they passed her own contrived judgement ‘filter’. It seems that GVA is only interested in events where shots were fired and blood was shed, and anti-gun activists like Jennifer Mascia will figuratively gladly dance in the blood to make sure her own bias is put forth and then re-enforced with other false information such as what she has done now in ‘supposedly’ answering your question.

    For all defensive gun use, with rifle or pistol or shotgun, annually less then 5% of defenders actually fire shots simply because the brandishing works to defend, and collectively all this defensive gun use (shots fired or not) can be up to around 3 million incidents annually.

    There is a lot of violent crime that is not accounted for in stats, this is because the stats are driven at their basics by arrests and conviction. The U.S. overall only has around an 8% arrest rate and maybe in a good year an 11% conviction rate for violent criminals, so there is a lot of violent crime not accounted for in official stats.

    A lot of that violent crime is visited upon law abiding people who use guns for defense and they overall have a 96% success rate of avoiding serious injury or death in using their firearm in repelling/stopping that violent threat when its comes calling – and of the violent crime visited upon those law abiding who do not have a firearm for defense there is an over 85% chance of serious injury or death.

    This is part of the story that people like Jennifer Mascia don’t want you to see. It does not serve the blatant tyranny agenda she is serving and paid to do it too, which is why she answered your question using what is a known unreliable source for such incidents and then applied her own ‘filtering’ to make it seem extremely rare that an AR/AK platform would be used for defense. It furthers the false narrative designed to prey upon those who act based on emotion and are confirmation biased.

    So to the ‘reader’ that asked this question of Jennifer Mascia,,, I would recommend that you don’t get your information from her or the Trace or the GVA or any of the anti-gun organizations – they are treating you like mushrooms, keeping you in the dark and feeding you shit.

  18. In reality it has been known in police circles that using a rifle in an urban area is pure insanity. The Spanish Destroyer Carbine that was invented decades and decades ago addressed that glaring problem so its not a new problem concerning over penetration of a high velocity rifle round.

    You do not need a .50 cal Barrett Assault rifle to shoot a home intruder and home invasions when people are home are exceedingly rare.

    Most people killed at home are killed by people living in the home and overpenetration can get multiple people killed as well as the bullet exiting the home and sailing down through the neighborhood and mowing down children at play.

    • dacian, the DUNDERHEAD Is it? Tell me then why the Police have AR-s and sniper rifles? You think it might be because your criminal friends have them?
      A Barrett is NOT an “assault rifle”, for your education. While some of there sniper rifles are semi-auto, the majority of their line are BOLT ACTION.
      Do you know what a bolt action rifle is?
      Have you ever just gone out the the range and punch holes in paper? Oh, that’s right. you are a “firearms expert” who doesn’t know the firing sequence of a cartridge.

      • to Walter

        I simply cannot believe you were ever a cop. Anyone with law enforcement experience knows that they do have highly trained snipers to take out terrorists and maniacs with assault rifles.

        On the other hand the run of the mill officer if often poorly trained and does not use discretion when shooting at a felon. Putting assault rifles in their hands is about like giving everyone in a mental institution an assault rifle and then hope they do not cause any problems with them.

    • “In reality it has been known in police circles that using a rifle in an urban area is pure insanity.”


      Police use rifles every day across the US in urban areas.

    • “Most people killed at home are killed by people living in the home and overpenetration can get multiple people killed as well as the bullet exiting the home and sailing down through the neighborhood and mowing down children at play.”

      100 % lie

    • “intruder and home invasions when people are home are exceedingly rare.”

      false… its also called a home invasion because people are home therefore 100% of home invasions happen when people are home thus are not rare.

      • He’ll love the new bullet I invented – take a picture of what you want to shoot, scan it into the bullet, then just shoot up in the air. The bullet flies around until it spots the target then wham! Works on face recognition.

        Registered Dems get a special introductory price…

    • dacian, most center fire handgun calibers have more penetration than .223/5.56 soft point rounds. A thing I already knew before I went to the range with Federal/CCI/Speer to test ammunition. Three times. The ignorant should remain silent. They only embarrass themselves.

      • Yep. A 22 lr bullet will ricochet off grass and hit something half mile away, where a 5.56 varmint round will turn into metallic dust that goes nowhere.

        A 12 ga Brennke slug or even a hot 9mm will cruise through multiple layers of drywall, where a 223 varmint grenade won’t make it thru the second layer.

  19. So if civilians should not own an AR, what does that make police that own them?
    State Security apparatus I suppose.

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