Why I Need an AR-15
Jon Stokes 06.14.16
I put this up at Medium, but I wanted to share it here.
Once again, there has been another mass shooting involving a gun that looks like an AR-15 (it’s technically a Sig Sauer MCX, which may or may not be an “AR-15”… more later on this definitional issue and why it actually matters beyond mere neckbeard pedantry). And, once again, the calls have gone out to ban the “black rifle” from civilian sales. “Nobody needs one of these weapons of war,” is the common refrain.
Yet, if the statistics from the National Shooting Sports Federation, some 5 million Americans have decided that they do, in fact, “need” an AR-15. Are all of these people bloodthirsty savages? Delusional survivalists? Military fetishists? Insecure men with tiny… hands?
If you’re prepared to answer ‘yes’ to all of the above and consider the case closed, then please move on and don’t read anymore. This article isn’t my attempt to justify anything to you — it’s not a defense of what’s in my gun safe or of the AR-15 itself. If, for you, my AR-15 ownership is prima facie evidence of my mental instability, sexual inadequacy, lack of a conscience, or what-have-you, then I honestly don’t care what you think about this issue. You can go back to broadcasting your own moral superiority on social media, and I can go back to tuning you out until your rage therapy session is over.
No, this article is for the genuinely curious — those who assume that 5 million of their fellow Americans are not inhuman or insane, and who want to understand what set of rationales, no matter how flawed and confused they may ultimately turn out to be, could make an otherwise normal person walk out of a gun store with an “assault weapon.”
By the end of this piece, you probably still will not believe that I or any other civilian actually needs an AR-15. That’s fine. My only hope is that you’ll go forth better equipped to talk about gun control based on an understanding of how real live people view and use these firearms.
Please read and share. It may come in handy the next time you face the “why do you need one of those?” question.