Assault Rifles for Dummies

By Randy Wakeman

The media has parroted the term "assault rifles" for years. They rarely know what they are talking about. Politicians fare far worse, for when they have no clue what they are talking about, it too often condemns the common American to live under clueless laws. Bad anti-gun laws kill innocent Americans. While the title of this essay is "Assault Rifles for Dummies," it could easily be just "Self-Defense for Dummies."

Gary Kleck, Ph.D. is a professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University in Tallahassee and author of Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America (Aldine de Gruyter, 1991), a book widely cited in the national gun control law debate. The survey, conducted by random telephone sampling of 4,978 households in all the states except Alaska and Hawaii, yielded results indicating that American civilians use their firearms as often as 2.5 million times every year defending against a confrontation with a criminal, and that handguns alone account for up to 1.9 million defenses per year.

As a matter of fact, the Obama Administration, via executive order, spent $10 million to fund the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to research gun violence. The report was published in 2013: Priorities for research to reduce the threat of firearm related violence. (Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.) The report showed that the majority of gun related deaths between 2000 and 2010 were due to suicide and not criminal violence: 61%.

Defensive use of guns "is a common occurrence," according to the study. Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.

The study said that "interventions," such as background checks, restrictions on firearms and increased penalties for illegal gun use, showed mixed results, while "turn-in" programs are ineffective in reducing crime. The study noted that most criminals obtained their guns in the underground economy; from friends, family members, or gang members and beyond any influence from gun control laws on legitimate gun owners.

In 2003, Americans owned an estimated 192 million firearms, while today that number is estimated to be closer to 300 million, an increase of more than 55 percent. The Obama mandated study says, "Self-defense can be an important crime deterrent." It goes on to say that, "Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies." Not only does self-defense stop crime, but self-defense using a gun is the best recourse against a violent aggressor.


Can you imagine the stupidity of calling your automobile an "assault auto," your pocket knife an "assault knife," your baseball bat an "assault bat," or commercial airliners "assault planes?" Yet, all of those things, along with pressure-cookers and agricultural fertilizer, have been used to create tragedy. Water drowns people, sinks ships and it is hard to get electrocuted without the benefit of electricity. There are plenty of materials available to everyone to become an arsonist, if they so choose.

The problem with attempts at gun control is that they kill innocent Americans, law-abiding Americans, the only Americans more paperwork ever affects. A semi-automatic rifle is an important defensive tool for many Americans. It is not hard to understand why.

The most vulnerable of innocent Americans, physically, are the young, the old, the light and slender. If you have arthritis (an estimated 52.5 million Americans have doctor-diagnosed arthritis), shoulder problems, back problems, neck problems the recoil of a firearm can be a real problem for you. So can manipulation of controls and magazines. That is why, for these millions of Americans, a semi-automatic rifle with a 30 round detachable magazine is their best bet to protect themselves, their children and their families.

That defines the Armalite Rifle Model 15: reasonably lightweight, low in recoil and, although its cartridge is a low-powered varmint cartridge, it can save your life at close range. The AR-15 itself is an old design from 1958 and if it was a car or airplane, it would be little more than an antique. It is seldom used in crime, for it isn't anything that is going to fit in anyone's pocket, to say the least.

Indeed, it was a uniformed police officer who initially exchanged gunfire with the radical Muslim shooter in Orlando, reported as being outside of the club at 2:02 am. The shooter, again in a "gun-free" zone, didn't use an AR-15, but one of the many common variants. The victims, being gun-free, had no way to fight back.

At the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe in Dhaka, Bangladesh nine Italians, seven Japanese, one American and an Indian died after they were brutally attacked with sharp weapons, according to Bangladesh Army Brigadier Gen Naim Asraf Chowdhury. Bangladesh's Daily Star newspaper said the gunmen tortured anyone who was unable to recite the Koran. The victims had no way to fight back.

July 3, 2016, there were two attacks in Iraq. The deadliest attack took place in the central Karada district of Baghdad, where a suicide bomber blew up his explosives-laden pickup truck outside a crowded shopping center, killing at least 200 people and wounding up to 170 others, according to Iraqi Police. The dead include children, women and policemen.


One might reasonably ask how the American public has become so sea-slug stupid when it comes to firearms? A large part of the answer is simply who has skin in the game. In WWII, about 16,000,000 personnel served in the U.S. Military; approximately 11,200,000 in the Army, 4,200,000 in the Navy and 660,000 in the Marine Corp. In 1945, the population of the United States was about 140 million.

During the Korean War, we had over 3.5 million on active duty, and similar numbers in Vietnam. Today, although the U.S population is about 320 million, we have 1.4 million serving in the U.S. Armed forces; 0.4 percent of the U.S. population is active duty military. In World War II, there were an estimated 15,000,000 battle deaths, 25,000,000 battle wounded and 45,000,000 civilian deaths. World-wide casualty estimates vary widely in several sources: the number of civilian deaths in China alone might well be more than 50,000,000. Everyone knew that freedom wasn't free, it came at a gut-wrenchingly horrible cost and the idea that an American citizen owned firearms did not raise an eyebrow. That right was bought and paid for, many times over, throughout the history of the United States.

Today, as I write these words, is Independence Day. Sadly and often miserably, while independence is celebrated, some continuously do everything imaginable (and the unimaginable) to become just as dependent as possible. We have seen that the genocide of the American Indian was facilitated by keeping them unarmed. Historically, the control of African-Americans, Chinese-Americans and Japanese-Americans, was contingent on keeping them dependent and unarmed, while denying them any semblance of Due Process.

You may not recognize their names, but the plaintiffs in the landmark District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) included Shelly Parker, Tom G. Palmer, Gillian St. Lawrence, and Tracey Ambeau. I knew the lead plaintiff in McDonald v. Chicago, the late Otis McDonald. All of these American citizens have quite diverse backgrounds, but were thoroughly disgusted at being legislated out of their right to defend themselves. If you think these folks were all wealthy, privileged, heterosexual white boys, or those who travel with well-armed private security, like the folks who manufacture paper laws, you would be surprised. One of the reasons we have concealed carry in the United States is the story of Suzanna Hupp, who was legislated out of her right to defend herself.

If you are a black friend of mine, get a gun and get trained. If you are a female friend of mine, get a gun and get trained. If you happen to be an Asian friend of mine, get a gun and get trained. If you are a gay, straight, somewhere in between, elderly or young, in good health or poor health, get a gun, get trained and refuse to be a victim or dependent.

The CDC gun violence study was just another fatuous waste of taxpayer money to discover what everyone should already know, that victims always have one thing in common: the inability to defend themselves.

Back to Editorials

Back to General Firearms & Shooting

Copyright 2016 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.