AR-15 Church Shooting Gun Debate
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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By Larry Keane

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on gun control. There will be blustering about the need for background checks for gun sales, closing so-called “loopholes” and getting “weapons of war” off the streets. Before the inflated labels get thrown around, it’s important to know the facts.

All retail guns sales already require background checks, whether it’s at a brick-and-mortar store, at a gun show or purchased online. Each and every one requires a face-to-face transaction, with background check forms completed and submission of information to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

There’s no such thing as a “Charleston Loophole.” If a background check is delayed, the FBI has three business days to dig further for more information before a retailer “may” transfer the firearm. They’re not required to do so, and many do not.

Springfield Armory 1911-A1 mil spec
This is a ‘weapon of war.’ (Nick Leghorn for TTAG)

The “weapons of war” rhetoric also needs to be corrected. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) will surely talk about her bill proposing to ban the most-popular centerfire rifle in America – the modern sporting rifle (MSR), or those AR-15-style rifles. She’s using a decades-old play to confuse the American public about what the rifle really is – a semiautomatic firearm that uses the same technology first introduced in the late 1800’s and commercially available since the early 1900’s.

She’s betting looks can deceive.

Sen. Feinstein claims “domestic terrorism” as the impetus for her latest proposal, the Assault Weapons Ban. What she’s really wants to do is ban the sale of commonly-owned rifles, with over 20 million in circulation, legally owned by millions of Americans for a variety of reasons, including self-defense, hunting and recreational and competition shooting.

The facts might not matter, but Sen. Feinstein should understand who is leaving gun stores after undergoing a background check and purchasing MSRs and their reasons why.

MSRs, Not ‘Weapons of War’

Sen. Feinstein’s proposal bans more than 200 varieties of MSRs, like AR-15s. AR stands for the original manufacturer, ArmaLite, not “assault rifle” as is commonly and intentionally repeated.

No matter how often gun control proponents repeat it, MSRs aren’t what they claim. They use war terminology to scare and mislead to impose more gun control.

ar-15 deer hunting
This is a ‘weapon of war.’ (Liberte Austin for TTAG)

The truth is MSRs are semiautomatic rifles that use the same one trigger pull, one round fired mechanics as commonly-owned semiautomatic handguns and shotguns. This firearm technology is over a century old.

MSRs appear similar to the military versions such as M-16s, but that’s it. They aren’t automatic. They’re not supernatural and they’re not a scourge in America.

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports consistently demonstrate that more murders are committed with knives, fists and clubs than by rifles of all kinds – let alone the MSR. The truth is Americans who own these rifles are overwhelmingly law-abiding and responsible.

Who’s Buying Them?

Sen. Feinstein is also ignoring Americans who are rejecting gun control and taking ownership of their gun rights. More than 21 million background checks for guns sales were completed in 2020, including for more than 8.4 million first-time buyers. This includes large percentages of women and minorities.

African-Americans did so by 58 percent greater than 2019. Hispanic-American purchases rose by 49 percent and Asian-American purchases rose by 42 percent. Retailer data showed MSRs were among the most popular choices. Despite California being one of the strictest gun control states, nearly 1.2 million Californians registered a firearm purchase, the most since 2016. A third of those were rifles.

Twenty-six-year-old Megan Hill from Utah explained why she chose an MSR. “We looked at the AR-15, and it was all in one package. You can target-shoot with it, protect yourself with it, hunt with it. Luckily we haven’t had to use it in self-defense, but it’s a comfort knowing that it’s there to protect my children and my family,” she explained.

Californians too are growing frustrated that gun control efforts like Sen. Feinstein’s proposed ban, is targeting law-abiding gun owners but does nothing to address criminals. Scott Kane explained his frustration with 10-day waiting periods and California’s bans earlier this year.

Remington 700 rifles
These are ‘weapons of war.’

“This has taken me, a law-abiding citizen with nary an unpaid parking ticket to my name, over a month,” Kane told the Washington Free Beacon. “Meanwhile Joe Bad Guy has probably purchased several fully automatic AK-47s out of the back of an El Camino in a shady part of town with zero background checks.”

A Record of Failure

Owners of MSRs know the folly here. Sen. Feinstein’s ban won’t reduce crime or violence. It’s only a means of restricting the rights of law-abiding Americans.

She should understand this. She authored the failed 1994 Assault Weapons Ban which expired in 2004. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) admitted the ban didn’t reduce crime. NSSF data shows just the opposite: as MSR ownership increased, violent crime has trended lower.

The 2008 landmark U.S. Supreme Court District of Columbia v Heller decision held the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own a firearm. Millions of Americans agree with and hold that right sacred. That includes commonly-owned firearms like MSRs.

Sen. Feinstein, and her fellow gun control advocates in Congress, seem to have a greater issue with the Constitution than they do with a rifle, of which she shows little understanding.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.


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  1. Weapons of War? Sounds like what the Gun Control military wing of the Jim Crow democRat Party used to confiscate guns from Black Americans.

    Weapons of war, Saturday Night Specials, plastic guns, Assault Weapons yada yada yada…It all goes hand in hand with a sick, perverted agenda rooted in racism and genocide.

    • We do it, too, though.

      Notice how the author tripped over his own cuck feet to repeatedly label the AR as a “MSR- Modern Sporting Rifle”.

      Sure, there are lots of modern shooting sports that the AR excels at. You know what else it’s good at? Spilling the blood of tyrants. That’s what.

      It’s almost as if the most popular rifle platform of our time is good at all the same things the military small arms contemporary to our founding were good at; equally adept at sport, utility and war-fighting.

      It’s almost as if the AR were some sort of modern musket.

      Trying to play off the AR as just another sporting good, in an attempt to inoculate it, is a cuck move. Let them know why we refuse to give it up, in plain language, and be on with it.

      • Statists: “You can’t own that! It’s a weapon of war!”

        The fudd who wrote this article: “But-but-but they’re modern sporting rifles not real full-auto weapons, so we should be allowed to have them.”

        Me: “The second amendment recognizes our right to keep and bear weapons of war. That’s the whole point.”

    • none of this may matter with the second mass shooting in a week…and this time he used a “patrol rifle”…CNN is already talking-up new gun control measures…

  2. Iowa to become # 19
    Constitutional carry just passed the Iowa Senate. It passed the Legislature last Monday. It now goes to the Governor who has expressed her support. Unless vetoed in becomes Law in 3 days.

    In a massive advancement of Second Amendment freedom, the Iowa Senate just passed Constitutional Carry law by a vote of 31-17! Having already passed the Iowa House, the bill is headed to Governor Reynolds’ desk!
    Governor Reynolds has three options on H.F. 756. She can veto it, she can sign it into law within three days, or she can take no action, in which case the bill will pass into law at the end of the three days on its own.
    Gun owners are very close to making Iowa the 19th Constitutional Carry state, but we can’t let up now!
    That’s why I hope every gun owner in Iowa will contact Governor Reynolds right away, urging her to sign H.F. 756 into law!
    Contact Governor Reynolds NOW!
    As you may have read in a previous email, thanks to your relentless grassroots support, the legislature added a variety of additional pro-gun provisions onto this bill.
    So there is a lot more riding on Governor Reynolds’ decision than just Constitutional Carry law. Some of these additional items include:
    >>> The elimination of the permit to purchase handguns! While a permit or NICS check is required to purchase from a dealer, Iowa would join most states in allowing for private party sales without needing government permission, as long as the intended buyer is legally allowed to own firearms.
    >>> The strengthening of Iowa’s pre-emption laws. This bill clarifies that cities cannot restrict the carrying of firearms in city limits, provided that the carrying of that firearm is legal under existing state law.
    >>> Making it illegal for landlords to evict an otherwise law-abiding tenant for merely possessing a firearm, if that landlord receives government assistance.
    >>> Allowing for concealed carry in the People’s House (the Capitol building) without having to show a permit.
    >>> Breaking the NRA’s monopoly as the only entity who can certify concealed carry instructors here in Iowa, by allowing the DPS to authorize other organizations to provide this training.
    This is all happening because of you! But we can’t give up. Michael Bloomberg will be doing everything he can to stop this bill until it has been signed into law!

    Aaron Dorr
    Iowa Gun Owners
    P.S. The Iowa Senate just passed Constitutional Carry legislation by a vote of 31-17, sending H.F. 756 to Governor Reynolds’ desk!

    • Don’t hold your breath of Kimmy doing the correct thing an signing. She will have to call Branstad 1st.

  3. I’m too old to stand for anyone, any governmental agency, or any law enforcement branch to try to take away my long-held, legally obtained, well-maintained and responsibly used arms.

  4. I guess they need to ban the .38 revolver. Since it was my issued weapon, for a time. When I was in the US Army.

  5. “weapons of war”? like thermobaric bombs, hypersonic missiles, and radar jammers?

    where can i get some!?

    • UniverseEndingPerpetualFusionNeutrinoBlomb.
      light fuse and get away fast
      I’ve got two but after I light off the first one I probably wont get a chance to sale the other one?


  7. Just wanted to say that I think it’s ridiculous that people are ceding the term “weapon of war.” The purpose of the second is that we have weapons of war. If anything we should be telling them they can ban Joe Biden’s double barreled shotgun because it’s not likely to be used in a militia.

  8. Once upon a time, prior to the American Revolution, the most common firearm in civilian hands was the .75 caliber Brown Bess of which, over the years, millions were produced. It served the militia well in the Revolutionary War, and thereafter the Second Amendment confirmed the right of the people to keep and bear the same “weapons of war” that they had been using for many years to hunt dear, bear, etc. Many of the muskets of the Civil War, most merely developments of the Brown Bess to include more reliable percussion ignition, continued on. After smokeless powder was developed, the Army adopted the 1903 Springfield, as well as the later Remington, all chambered in .30-06. After the war, sporterized Springfields became the most popular deer rifle in the States. “Weapons of War” were recognized as fully legal to own. Pump shotgun s were popularized for trench warfare; are they too “weapons of war”? Vietnam brought a slew of M-16s and AK47s home, and thei4r popularity was sustained, even after the ban on new production, via the AR-15 firing the same bullet.

    The point is simply this: the Founding Fathers anticipated and guaranteed the the citizenry would not be disbarred the ownership, possession and use of weapons of war.

    • the Brown Bess would have been a very poor choice for hunting….most colonists preferred rifles….

      • Rifles were hand made and quite expensive (relatively speaking), while muskets imported from England were pretty inexpensive. Just for example, there is a gunmaker in Williamsburg, VA who makes every single piece of a flintlock rifle, including screws, etc. from scratch at a forge. His rifles sell for about $27,000 each. I have to assume that handmade rifles were as equally expensive in those day dollars.

  9. Brilliant! It’s about time we banned weapons of war! Let’s make a list and get down to writing the bills that will finally make Whirled Peas a reality!

    1. The Chinese Communist Party and their President for Life is/are banned from owning, operating or having control over fighter planes, bombers, missiles and rockets, bombs having greater explosive force than a Fourth of July Firecracker, artillery, submarines, aircraft carriers, warships, tanks, armored vehicles other than tanks, sand dredging ships and equipment, military radar and toilet paper.

    2. The nations of Russia, North Korea, Iran, Syria and other unpleasant regimes and evil empires are banned to the same degree and list of naughty items useful in waging warfare.

    3. Narco Cartels are declared a “Special Class” and are banned from owning all the above plus anything that can be used to smuggle drugs.

    There we are then. With those three points the United States Congress will be able to rapidly Whirl all the Peas like you never thought possible!!!

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