Earlier today, I lamented the fact that outdoor writer Jim Darnell seemed to have figured out the danger to his career posed by his ill-advised screed against sporting AR-15s, in time to pull it off the internet before it rose up to bite him.
Luckily, someone at AR15.com was too quick for him:
Production of the AR-15 sporting rifles a big mistakeAgain, it's not quite as bad as what Zumbo said--he didn't call AR-15s "terrorist rifles"--he just said that since they look like "terrorist rifles" to the public, we should meekly bow to their tender sensibilities, and, to borrow a phrase, "not scare the white people."
Choose your battles carefully.
That’s good advice to parents with teenagers. It’s good advice for politicians. Some issues are too emotionally charged and not worth the fight. I would give the same advice to the American gun manufacturers and the National Rifle Association.
I’m a strong Second Amendment rights person. I stand against fire arms registration and government control and confiscation of our guns. But I strongly feel that the firearm manufacturers of our country are making a big mistake in producing the AR-15 sporting rifles.
Ever since Colt introduced the first AR-15 into the hunting world more than 30 years ago they have been very popular. It’s now being produced in several heavier calibers by all major gun manufacturers and is the all-time No. 1 selling rifle.
The AR-15 looks very similar to the M16 service rifle first used in combat in Vietnam. It’s similar in looks to the military rifle used by our vets in the first Gulf War. It also has similar features to an AK-47.
Therein lies the problem. These modern sporting rifles are inflammatory in looks — they don’t look like modern hunting rifles. They are military in looks. They look like they were produced to kill men, not deer.
The AK-47 is the most widely distributed assault rifle in the world and almost always associated with wild terrorists. And most Americans can’t tell the difference in the looks of an AK-47 and a modern AR-15 hunting rifle.
Granted, the AR-15 is not an assault weapon.
Unlike the AK-47 it is not fully automatic (pull the trigger and fire the whole clip). It shoots one bullet at a time like my semi-automatic 30-06 that I hunt deer with.
Granted, the new AR-15’s are compact, light, rugged and accurate. They make excellent hunting rifles. The problem is their inflammatory looks.
The press immediately jumped on the letters AR to mean “assault rifle.” That’s not what AR means. AR abbreviates Armalite. But the anti-gun press conveniently overlooks the facts.
The firearms manufacturers defend their production of the AR-15 modern hunting rifles with an argument from history. World War I soldiers used the 1903 Springfield bolt-action rifle in combat. When they returned to America they wanted a hunting rifle in the same 30-06 cartridge with the smooth bolt action cycling that they experienced with the Springfield. Thus, the production of millions of great bolt action sporting rifles like the Model 70 Winchester, the Ruger 77, and the 700 Remington. The bolt action rifle is still the most accurate and popular rifle among the world’s big game hunters.
Then came WW II and the introduction of the first semi-automatic service rifle, the M-1 30-06, popularly known as the Garand (named after the inventor).
When these brave service men returned home a wide range of semi-automatic hunting rifles and shotguns gained widespread popularity among both hunters and target-shooting enthusiasts.
The manufacturers ask, “Shouldn’t Vietnam and Gulf War vets have a hunting rifle like their service rifles?”
I don’t think the argument is valid. After WW II, crazy terrorists weren’t running through the streets firing 1903 bolt action Springfields into the air.
No Arab terrorists were on the daily newscasts blasting people with the semi-automatic Garand after WW II.
It’s the AK-47 and its long history with revolution, riots and terrorism that’s the problem.
The average person in America says why do you need a terrorist’s assault rifle to hunt? Again, the AR-15 is not a terrorist’s weapon. It is not fully automatic. It is not an assault rifle. It just looks like one.
So why endanger our Second Amendment rights by manufacturing and defending a modern hunting rifle that has such an inflammatory design? It plays right into the hands of the anti-gun movement. They love the looks of the AR-15. It’s easy to enrage the average American against such an “assault rifle.”
Let’s get wise. We have a difficult enough task defending our right to own firearms without this foolish battle.
Jim Darnell is an ordained minister and host/producer of the syndicated television show “God’s Great Outdoors.” His column appears every Thursday in the Daily Record.
If they're that easily frightened, I'm going to put the fear into 'em, and enjoy it.