Opinion: AR-15 should not be banned

Guest column by Katherine Jarvis

What do you think when you hear the phrase “assault rifle?” Most of you that oppose gun rights would say “an AR-15, because that’s what the AR stands for, plus it just looks scary.” I hear this a lot. It’s wrong. The AR stands for Armalite Rifle, the brand that first made this style of gun.

A simple search on google defines an “assault rifle” as “a rapid-fire, magazine-fed automatic rifle designed for infantry use.” (Which I would debate calling any rifle an “assault rifle,” but I will save that argument for another time). For those of you who don’t already know, an “automatic rifle” fires multiple rounds with one continuous pull of the trigger. A semi-automatic rifle fires one round for each pull of the trigger. I, myself, am not interested in the massive cost or difficult process of owning an automatic weapon, as I use my guns for target shooting and self-defense.

My favorite rifle is my Mosin-Nagant. It is a high-powered, bolt-action rifle. Bolt-action means that every time I fire my rifle, I have to rack the bolt to eject the empty case and chamber another round. The power of this round can do much more damage from a longer range than an AR-15. A Mosin-Nagant was used by the Finn sniper, Simo Hayha (also known as “the white death” by an invading Russian army) in the Winter War of 1939. He sniped over 500 of the enemy in 100 days, using a Mosin-Nagant rifle, in negative 40*F temperatures, at extreme ranges, without a scope. The energy of the AR-15 cartridge pales in comparison to the Mosin-Nagant. Power-wise, it’s not even close. Yet, I have never heard anyone complain about a Mosin-Nagant.

I do understand that AR-15s have been used in mass shootings in 2018, but according to Newsweek, other types of guns used were a shotgun, some semi-automatic handguns, and a .38 revolver. In fact, more mass shootings have been carried out with handguns than semi-automatic rifles. Please feel free to look these up so you can see why it is wrong to push the AR-15 as the one weapon that mass shooters use as a go-to.

My father is an advocate for gun rights and a life-long avid collector of guns. He has taught me how to hold, shoot, store, clean, and respect guns. I wish everyone had the chance to learn about guns and gun safety from someone as knowledgeable as him. If they had, maybe they would learn to use correct information and terminology.

Before you decide that AR-15s and their brethren need to be banned, take the time to learn about them, even experience them. They are pleasant to shoot, at the low-end of the “high-powered rifle” spectrum. The AR-15 (and, in fact, ALL firearms) are merely tools. The person controlling the gun is the operant factor. Making these arms less available to law-abiding citizens will do nothing to reduce gun violence; detecting and treating those in need of mental health care will do more than knee-jerk politics can ever hope to accomplish.

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