The term assault is defined as “A violent physical or verbal attack“
According to most media reports now, it seems that almost all crime is committed with an “Assault Rifle”. What they fail to mention is that you can use anything you want to commit the crime of assault including: Your Voice, Hands, Baseball Bat, Towel to the backside in the locker room, Car, Brick, M4, or even the AR-15. I am not arguing the fact that you can’t use a rifle to commit assault, I am saying that you can use anything! The media these days puts the term “Assault Rifle” into uneducated peoples’ heads to demonize not only the AR-15 but all weapons. This is most recently noted in the Navy Yard Shooting in which Aaron Alexis used a self modified shotgun to go on a shooting rampage. Unfortunately CNN still says that he used an AR-15. http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/17/us/ar-15-gun-debate/ When they learned it was a shotgun the renamed it an AR-15 Shotgun:
In this particular instance he did not use an Assault Shotgun, but he did use a shotgun to commit assault on people. Just as a similar shooter, James Holmes, used an rifle to commit assault on a group of movie-goers in Aurora, CO. The latter just happened to actually be an AR-15. Unfortunately what most people don’t understand is that he could have used a wooden stocked rifle and had the same results. The difference is the scary factor.
Many people use the term to describe an Assault Rifle as cosmetic. I disagree. A cosmetic change would have no impact on the functionality of the weapon similar to the way make-up has no performance enhancing features for women. Adding a laser will help in accuracy when your brain is busy thinking about something else. I know that the bullet will go where the green dot is rather than lining up my sights when my brain is in gross motor skills mode. Adding a foregrip helps control the weapon system. The list can go on and on but these are not cosmetic. If you want a cosmetic addition, order the pink furniture by clicking on the picture:
In closing, an assault weapon can be any weapons system. Military or not, Full Auto or Semi, scary looking or not. It doesn’t matter what size the caliber is, how long the barrel is, or how it’s made. It only matters in how it is used. To the people that get their information from the TV without researching it, the picture below is of two separate guns. The top is a hunting rifle and the bottom is an assault rifle. To the knowledgeable, one is simply wooden and the other is metal.
When I get into a discussion regarding gun control I often run into people that have their minds made up that guns are bad. The majority of the time these people are just regurgitating what they have learned from the media which makes them ignorant. I don’t mean that in a negative connotation, I simply mean that they are uneducated about the topic that they are trying to defend. There are several point which, for me, makes anything the say invalid and that is
1) That the AR in AR-15 stands for “Assault Rifle”
2) They use the term “clip” to refer to how many rounds a rifle can hold, and
3) Their definition of “Assault Weapon”
Lets educate some people:
The AR-15 originated in 1948 when the Army designed the Operations Research Office, or the ORO. Their first task was to design better body armor. Until then, not very much research had been put in to exactly how a human was wounded in combat. They were looked into several situations when a person was struck with a projectile. The 3 main areas were:
- Frequency of hits
- Distribution of hits
- The range at which most hits were sustained
They found that most hits were accurate under 300 meters and that most actual hits occurred under 100 meters. The ORO determined that the Army needed a low recoil, high velocity rifle capable of firing in semi-auto and full-auto.. It also needed to be light, only 6 lbs loaded, and capable of holding at least a 20 round magazine. It must also be able to penetrate a standard soldiers helmet at 500 meters
Fast forward to 1957 when the Army asked for bids to produce the rifle. The three main contenders were:
The Winchester .224 Lightweight Military Rifle
The Springfield Armory in .224
The Armalite AR-15 in .223
The Army chose the AR-15 due to several key factors including;
- Inexpensive to manufacture
- The inline stock made it easier to control in fully automatic mode
- Accurate up to 350 yards
Colt bought the rights to the AR-15 in 1959. The Army changed the designation to the M16 and it entered service in 1963. They also eventually changed the standard cartridge to a 5.56×45 which is the standard NATO round. While there are lots of other issues about the M16 and its reliability during the Vietnam War, we will leave that for another discussion.
It seems like a long answer to a simple question. The “AR” in AR-15 stands for Armalite, the original manufacturer. In fact the AR-15 was based off of the design of the AR-10 which is a 7.62×51. Although Armalite designed several different weapons, the AR-10 and the AR-15 remain the most popular.
Stay tuned for the next article where I will explain the difference between a clip and a magazine, and not these kind either: