AR-15 : To Ban or not to Ban?

The current debate about gun control includes a debate about the fate of the AR-15. To ban or not to ban retail sales of the AR-15: That is the question.

Before deciding which side to choose, it is only fair that people consider the arguments made by both sides.

One argument against such a ban comes from former Wired editor Jon Stokes. He explains his opposition in the Vox article Why millions of Americans — including me — own the AR-15.

Stokes points out just how ubiquitous the AR-15 and its parts have become. That ubiquity has increased dramatically since the mass shooting in Orlando. A 06/17/16 Fox Business story states, “Hunter’s Warehouse Owner Tom Engle told the FOX Business Network’s Stuart Varney, his online operation consisting of 300,000 to 400,000 weapons has sold 30,000 AR-15’s since Sunday.”

The AR-15’s ubiquity would not be eliminated if retail sales of the weapon were banned. What would be the point of shutting the barn doors after all of the horses have stampeded out of the barn?

On the flip side of the debate, proponents of such a ban have their reasons for wanting one. Two such reasons are mentioned in a Vox article by former Wired editor Jon Stokes.

Yes, in his attempt to explain his opposition to such a ban, Stokes gives ammunition to ban proponents.

He writes, “The AR-15 was originally designed as a weapon of war, for man-killing and not for hunting or for target shooting — this is an obvious fact.”

He also writes, “If the AR-15 were a weapon that’s suitable only for indiscriminate, spray-n-pray mass slaughter, then it wouldn’t be so popular with police.”

It is a good thing that Stokes isn’t a defense lawyer, because his shooting off at the mouth would get his clients convicted.

Stokes hurts his cause by admitting that the AR-15 “was originally designed as a weapon of war” and that it is suitable for “indiscriminate, spray-n-pray mass slaughter”.

So, should retail sales of the AR-15 be banned?

Perhaps proponents and opponents of such a ban can reach a compromise.

The ability of a person to use the AR-15 for “indiscriminate, spray-n-pray mass slaughter” comes from the fact that one can use 30-round magazines with it, and those magazines can be changed rather quickly.

So, why not enact a ban on the retail sales of gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds?

Yes, an exception should be made for law enforcement.

No, the use of the AR-15 in shooting competitions isn’t just cause to permit magazines that hold 30 rounds.

Do hunters, farmers and ranchers need to shoot 30 rounds at an animal before having to reload? One would have to be a lousy shooter to shoot 30 times at a single animal and still miss.

These questions about gun magazines are legitimate. Now, what are the answers?

Shakespeare with an AR-15

Side Note: It would be nice if members of the media would get firearm terminology correct. Take a look at the following screenshot from the New York Daily News, and see if you can spot the error:

If you don’t know what the error is, then click here.

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