RCArms Opinion Page

We use this page to post commentary or opinions.  Typically this is uploaded to our Facebook page as well.

 What is the deal with the AR-15

June 12th, 2016

We are posting this because emotion is at an all time high and there is an incredible amount of mis-information that is being spread around social media and the mainstream press. We have been getting requests for statements from multiple organizations lately, so it is easier to just post this online.

First off, most people have no idea what an assault rifle actually is. The media has done an excellent job of distorting the truth on this subject, so I will try to spell it out as cleanly as possible.

As defined by the US Department of Defense, an assault rifle is a shoulder fired, magazine fed rifle chambered in an intermediate power cartridge with select fire capability. This means that the user has the ability to select semi-automatic and Full Automatic modes of operation.

Semi-Automatic: One round is fired for every pull of the trigger. Once the round is fired, the rifle cycles, ejecting the spent case and reloading a new cartridge from the magazine and stops, leaving the rifle ready to fire a second round. The operator has to release the trigger to reset the sear and trigger mechanism after ever round is fired.

Full Automatic (Select Fire): The firearm will fire continuously with one pull of the trigger and continue to reload and fire as long as the operator keeps the trigger depressed and there is ammunition in the magazine. This is most commonly known as a Machine Gun.

The first assault rifles were introduced during WWII with the introduction of the US M2 Carbine and the German Stg44. Both of these rifles fired lower power cartridges than the fill sized infantry rifles and It had Select-Fire capacity offering semi-auto as well as Full-auto modes of operation. Both rifles would be defined today by the term "Assault Rifle" based on their characteristics.

Following WWII, the two most readily identifiable Assault Rifles were designed and fielded by the Soviet Union (AK-47) and by the United States (M-16). Both of these rifles were Select Fire rifles capable of both Semi-Auto and Fullly Automatic fire. Both of these rifles were chambered in intermediate power cartridges and both of them have been widely exported to military users from many nations.

When Politicians and the Mainstream Media talk about banning "Assault Weapons", they want you to believe they are banning these Select-Fire Assault Rifles (Machine Guns) from Civilian ownership.

The simple truth is that these military grade Assault Rifles fall under the provisions of the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968, and The Firearms Protection Act of 1986 and are already heavily regulated and extremely expensive. The Hughes Amendment to the Firearms Owners Protection Act banned the manufacture of any new Machine Guns for Civilian sales. This has capped the number of machine guns that are transferable for civilian ownership and has made them extremely expensive and highly sough collector items that cost many thousands of dollars to purchase. There are roughly 181,000 registered machine guns on the NFA Registry that are transferable.

It is possible for Civilians to obtain these NFA registered weapons, but the process is lengthy and expensive. It involves lots of paperwork, fingerprints, photographs, Local Law Enforcement approval, Federal Law Enforcement approval, payment of multiple tax stamps, locating a suitable Class 3 SOT FFL dealer to handle the final transfer, and roughly 8 to 12 months of time......Plus finding the transferable machine gun that you want and making full payment. A good example of value is that a Transferable M-16 would have sold for roughly $1,000 in the early 1980's will fetch over $14,000 today. There are many legal obstacles to civilian ownership of these kinds of weapons today.

However the Civilian version of the venerable M-16 is the AR-15 Rifle. It is not an assault rifle as it is a semi-automatic only rifle. It looks almost identical to the Military's M-16, but the similarity is cosmetic in nature. It is a standard rifle that LOOKS LIKE the fully automatic M-16, but does not function like one. It is a semi-automatic firearm and operates exactly as any other standard semi-auto rifle being sold today. One trigger pull = one round being fired.

So what is this AR-15 if its not an assault rifle?

This is where it gets creative. The Media began calling the AR-15 an "Assault Weapon" in an attempt to confuse people into thinking it was the same thing as the Military M-16. Josh Sugarmann, a noted gun-control activist and founder of the Violence Policy Center created this term out of thin air in a 1988 paper he wrote. The Politicians latched onto it and since 1988 all semi-automatic firearms that have cosmetic features found on the Military Assault Rifles they resemble have been referred to as "Assault Weapons"

The cosmetic features that made a standard rifle into an assault weapon are:

Detachable Magazine - (does not make the rifle any deadlier)
A folding or telescoping stock - (does not make the rifle any deadlier).
A pistol grip - (does not make the rifle any deadlier).
A bayonet lug - (does not make the rifle any deadlier).
A threaded muzzle - (does not make the rifle any deadlier).
A Grenade Launcher - (does not make the rifle any deadlier).
A Barrel Shroud - (does not make the rifle any deadlier).

All the "evil features" have zero effect on the actual operation of the rifle and an AR-15 absent these evil features is not all that much different than a Remington 7400 Hunting Rifle. Its dishonest yes, but that has not stopped the politicians and press that want to restrict or eliminate the people from owning these kinds of firearms and the pressure from these people continue to this day.

So if the AR-15 isn't more dangerous than any other standard rifle, then why the effort to restrict ownership of it? Simple answer is because it looks different than a conventional wood stocked rifle that people are so accustomed to seeing. Its also easy for the gun-control advocates to single out a certain kind of firearm and try to stigmatize the ownership of that kind of firearm while saying they are not looking to ban grandpa's hunting rifle or your duck shotguns. They are trying to divide gun owners by what they own so they can go after a smaller group of citizens rather than all of them.

Fortunately for us, the AR-15 has risen to the top of the list as the most popular rifle in America today. It is an affordable, accurate rifle that is used heavily in Competition shooting, Home & Personal Defense roles, Hunting, and Casual Target shooting. The AR-15 is also used by hundreds of Security and Law Enforcement Agencies as a Patrol Carbine. Additionally, there are many veterans that would like a rifle similar in appearance to the one they trained with in the military and the AR-15 appeals strongly to them as well. There is no mystical evilness surrounding the AR-15...it's just a well made semi-automatic rifle that looks outwardly like the Military M-16.

However, if you agree with the Liberal Politicians and the Main Stream Media that claim we should ban a rifle simply because of how it looks, you have taken the first step onto the slippery slope....and that is a dangerous path to take.

The argument goes like this:

I'm Trap and Clays shooter, why should I concern myself with other kinds of guns, so....
When they came to collect Assault Weapons, I said nothing as I did not own any.
When they came to collect Handguns, I said nothing as I did not own any.
When they came to collect Semi-Automatics, I said nothing as I did not own any.
When they came to collect rifles, I said nothing as I did not own any.
Finally, when they came to collect shotguns, there was no one left to stand up for me.

Think about that and consider this. Be vocal with your elected representatives and let them know exactly how you feel about your freedom to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution. Also consider joining the NRA if you are not already a member.

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

While we are a FFL Dealer, we do not have a Class 3 SOT License and therefore do not have a Machine Gun to take photos of, so a stock web found photo will have to suffice.

THIS is a M-16 Machine Gun. 

and THIS is an AR-15 Semi-Automatic Rifle.

Outwardly they are almost identical in appearance, the only difference is in the receiver markings and the fire control group.  The M-16 is a Machine Gun and the AR-15 is not, but the Gun Control Advocates would like you to think that they are the same.