(This column was originally posted in February 2018 after the slaughter at Parkland High School in Florida. The AR-15 was the mass murderer’s weapon of choice. Yesterday, Saturday October 27, 2018, another killer selected an AR-15 before he entered a synagogue in Pittsburgh. It has become the madman’s favorite weapon. There are many issues about choice of firearms, but elimination of the AR-15 would be a good idea. Be careful saying that to the NRA or the lapdog politicians who receive millions from the NRA.)
As I write this on Sunday afternoon, four days after deranged Nikolas Cruz used an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle to massacre seventeen former high school classmates in Parkland, Florida, I again check the National Rifle Association website – NRA.org – and still predictably find nothing about another national tragedy. Instead, the NRA has reposted an article from July 2016: “10 Reasons to Own An AR-15 Rifle,” an insipid but quite dangerous rant written by the site’s editor, Mark Chesnut.
I know that many readers, before proceeding, have already clicked the link above to verify this isn’t a hoax. No, it’s true, for as people say, “You couldn’t make this stuff up.”
Chesnut starts by bemoaning that the “AR-15 rifle is once again under fire by gun banners—who ignore the fact that rifles of any kind are seldom used in crime, and seem to despise anyone who dares to own one. Many who are ignorant on (sic) firearms even consider the gun a ‘weapon of war,’ suitable for nothing but murder and mayhem.”
That’s preposterous, the editor notes, and “in no particular order” he offers his “Top 10 reasons to own” this splendid weapon.
First, self-defense. Mark Chesnut works with people who believe “there is no better firearm to defend their homes against realistic threats than” this rifle. “It’s accurate. It’s reliable.” It’s all that and more.
Second, Fun/Recreation. There’s no “rifle out there that’s more fun than the AR-15 to take to the range and punch some holes in paper.” One cannot doubt this rifle’s ability to puncture targets.
Third, Teaching/Learning. “There’s no better rifle to teach youngsters the skill of accurate rifle shooting,” Chesnut notes. This baby “is easy and tons of fun and also makes it great for starting out new shooters, regardless of age.” Throw out those baby rattlers, baseballs, footballs, basketballs, and bicycles, and go buy something great for the kids: an armful of AR-15’s.
Fourth, Hunting. This rifle is “perfect for varmints and predator hunting, and with the proper ammunition can make a great deer rifle.” Chesnut gushes, “Don’t buy the gun-banner lie that the AR-15 can’t be a good hunting rifle.” As for me, sir, I’m not trying to ban all guns, and I never said or implied this gun isn’t a consummate killer.
Fifth, Tinkering. “If you like to tinker, the AR-15 is the rifle for you,” Chesnut writes. “If you can’t build one of these rifles on your kitchen table with just a few specialized tools (legally, of course), you probably skipped shop class in high school.” I wish to hell I’d skipped woodshop as a freshman because I screwed around and cut off the tips of two fingers. But I believe Mark Chesnut. Most of you can build your own. I guess that means you can build one a week, if you want.
Sixth, Farm/Ranch Use. Chesnut gives hope to all food producers: “Excellent accuracy combined with good magazine capacity is enough to put the hurt on a pack of coyotes preying on calves or lambs – or on wild hogs tearing up your alfalfa or wheat field.” If you’re a city slicker, fret not. Blast away at any obnoxious cats and dogs who trespass on your lawn.
Seventh, Competitive Shooting. Chesnut is a “3-gun competitor (who sees) hundreds of people shoot AR-15s safely and accurately on a regular basis. Banning ownership… would be devastating to 3-gun – the fastest growing shooting sport in the country.” Human hunting is also a popular shooting sport in this land.
Eighth, Disaster Preparedness. Keep in mind that Mark Chesnut is “not someone who believes in an impending doomsday scenario.” But he’s also “not one who thinks that couldn’t happen.” He knows “any survival situation” is improved “by having an AK-15 or two on hand.” Indeed, “the AR-15 might just be the perfect SHTF firearm.” I confess, as the wimpy owner of but a single pistol, I didn’t know what SHTF is. It’s “shit hits the fan.” Okay.
Ninth, Bringing Women Into Shooting. Women are “the fastest-growing demographic in the shooting sports… (and they) “love the ‘cool factor’ of the AR just as much as men do.” I’m sure most red-blooded Americans agree there’s nothing cooler than firing a “soft-recoiling” AR-15.
Tenth, America’s Rifle. “Owning an AR-15 is as uniquely American as baseball, apple pie, and the Second Amendment,” states Mark Chesnut. “It’s the musket of our day – everyman’s rifle…” Mass murder of children and adults is also as American as apple pie.
When I finish desert I’ll for the twentieth time check NRA.org to see how long the world’s most powerful gun lobbyists are going to wait before commenting about the latest slaughter, this one wrought by a lunatic armed with the beloved AR-15.