There’s a refrain you’ll hear whenever a mass shooting is committed: “Nobody needs an AR-15.” You’ll hear it even when an AR-15 wasn’t the weapon used. Now, it’s true that most people don’t actually need an AR on a daily basis. Then again, they usually don’t need a seat belt, either. But when the need does arise, folks tend to be glad they have one.
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Like other rifles, an AR comes equipped with a shoulder stock and has a longer sight radius than a handgun, both contributing to better accuracy. Commonly chambered in .223, it has little recoil but delivers far more stopping power than most pistols. Its aluminum receiver and gas impingement operating system reduce weight and allow for fast follow up shots, which is part of why it’s popular among hunters and female shooters. Finally, its detachable box magazine provides high capacity and quick reloads, a feature some Korean-American shopkeepers found essential.
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In 1992, Los Angeles was hit with deadly riots, and the Korean-American community was specifically targeted. With no help from the police, store owners picked up semi-automatic rifles to defend their lives and property. Offering the ability to put down a high volume of fire, it’s one of the few ways someone can hold off angry mob. And a riot isn’t the only time that ability is important.
A Milwaukee man used an AR to defend himself against multiple armed attackers. This man in Detroit did the same. And in Sutherland Springs, local resident Stephen Willeford used his AR-15 to stop a mass killer:
It’s true that AR-style rifles have featured in high-profile mass shootings. But while such crimes are horrific, they’re also anomalies: of the 15 129 murders committed in 2017, the FBI reports that only 403 involved rifles of any kind. By comparison, CDC figures show that in the same year, 624 children 9 years of age and under drowned. Despite this, there’s no push to ban hot tubs, pools, or plastic buckets. And unlike those things, an AR has life-saving potential. It’s something plenty of folks know first hand.
This article was originally published at Western Free Press.