Lanterns: The Modern Myth of the Assault Rifle

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The Modern Myth of the Assault Rifle

Everyone is horrified at the senseless violence of the Las Vegas shooting.

 

Politicians, celebrities, and mainstream media are playing the blame game, pointing fingers at President Trump, the NRA, and the fact that the 2nd Amendment allows for private gun ownership. We don’t even know exactly which weapons were used in the attack.

We cannot fathom this level of depravity, and our minds search for and require a reason and someone or thing to blame. No, we don’t all see the world the same way, and it’s fine to disagree on policy. Trotting out a litany of lies to obfuscate the facts every time we're faced with tragedy, however, is unacceptable and fraudulent.

Once again we’re witnessing a complete manipulation of the facts surrounding the “assault” rifle. If it looks like an M-16, it’s called an assault rifle. Even owners and others that know better are referring to these firearms in the same way, because it’s become the common vernacular, and people understand what they’re speaking of, or at least think they do.

It’s a name game, so it’s up to those of us with the knowledge and understanding of weaponry to change the dynamic, and specifically, the buzzwords, because hell will see an ice storm before anyone in the mainstream media reports the truth.  Accuracy does not fit into their agenda as exemplified by Tom Brokaw, a so-called “gun owner,” who once referenced the “AR-14” which is a fictitious firearm — it simply does not exist.

 

To clear up a popular misunderstanding, the AR in AR-15 stands for Armalite, the manufacturer of the AR series, not Assault Rifle. There are many manufacturers producing AR style rifles.

 

Another misconception is that these firearms are more destructive than the wood-grain rifles we commonly think of as hunting rifles. There is no difference between them, other than appearance; the action is the same.

When I hear the term “assault rifle,” I conjure images of Al Capone and his gang in the streets with Tommy guns, the scene in The Godfather when Sonny is gunned down on the Long Island Expressway, and the Islamic State shooting into the air in celebration. 

These images, though, are not consistent with reality on the ground in America today. The AR-15 style rifle that the Orlando shooter used is not an automatic weapon, it is a semi-automatic weapon. There’s a big difference. The shooter is required to pull the trigger for each and every shot, that’s what semi-automatic means. It is not a machine gun.

Most handguns are semi-automatic, but don’t let their compact size fool you; the damage inflicted by a handgun can be as or more lethal than that of an AR-15.

Semi-automatic rifles have nothing in common with military automatic weaponry, other than resemblance.  Military grade rifles have a selector switch that is not present in a semi-automatic weapon. A rifle set to automatic is generally only used militarily to force the enemy to stop shooting and take cover, often referred to as cover fire. However, when in automatic mode, the rifle loses accuracy. The selector switch is set to semi-automatic most of the time.

Automatic firearms are Type II weapons and purchasing them legally is a lengthy and expensive process. They can be obtained only through a Class 3 Firearms Dealer who is federally licensed to sell Type II firearms; most gun dealers sell only Type 1 firearms. There are waiting periods, background checks, and hoops to jump through before being granted the privilege of paying a $200 government tax and an exorbitant price for the weapon. Relatively few people can afford to buy them. There are only a limited number of Type II firearms available to purchase, therefore the prices have gone up exponentially.

I stress that this procedure is for those who obey and follow the law. Unfortunately, one who is prepared to break the ultimate law, killing another human being, won’t be concerned with breaking a law they would consider to be irrelevant, that of legally purchasing their weaponry.

 

I must reiterate for clarity, the weapons cited in the Orlando shooting, the San Bernardino attack, the Sandy Hook travesty, and the Colorado movie theater massacres are regular semi-automatic rifles that have the distinction of looking like an M-16.  They are not “assault” weapons. 

There is no such thing as an assault weapon — it is a purposely misleading term being ignorantly repeated. There are semi-automatic and automatic, or Type I and Type II. In other words, I look like my sister, but I am not my sister. Look through weapons pictured here.  Can you tell which is an automatic?

The AR-15 has become the weapon of choice for many women who choose to have a home defense firearm. There are multiple reasons that it is preferable for women in particular:

    •    It is lighter and easier to handle than many guns.

    •    There is little to no recoil with the AR-15.  For those with arthritis, shoulder, and spinal issues, it won’t leave you sore and stiff the next day.

    •    It’s a scary-looking weapon and intimidating.  The best scenario is always deterrence, not having to fire.

    •    It is easily modified, making it adaptable for all sizes, shapes, and strengths.

    •    Most importantly for home defense, it can utilize a 30 round magazine.  In a high stress or invasion scenario, you’re more likely to be nervous, frightened, or shaking, and more likely to miss your target.  Having 30 rounds allows you the advantage of shooting until the threat is neutralized.   Magazine size varies, however, according to individual state law.

Yes, they look frightening, and that is the fact behind the myth of the “assault rifle.” They are light, easy to handle, and more accurate than shotguns and high caliber handguns and rifles, so wielding an AR-15 works for a 90-pound woman or a 300-pound man.

Light, easy to handle, and accurate also makes it the choice of criminals and those bent on evil. When the intent is to kill, the choice of weapon does not matter. Hatred or sickness is pulling the trigger, and there is no way to legislate that out of society, but there is no reason other than misdirection to perpetuate inaccurate terminology and the ignorance of society.

Written by Julie Custer

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