One of the things we hear time and time again after another man filled with hate massacres a group of innocent people is “The AR-15 is a hunting rifle.” And it is, if you’re hunting people. The AR-15 is marketed as a sporting rifle, used for hunting and target practice:
Known for its reliability, accuracy and design, the Bushmaster AR 15 is used by hunters, target shooters and even law enforcement. (source)
The NRA, and ammosexuals in general, also claim the AR-15 is great for defending your home. Except it’s not. A supporter of the Second Amendment, Justin Peters, wrote an article for Slate in which he details why the AR-15 is not the gun of choice for hunting or home defense:
But the AR-15 is not ideal for the hunting and home-defense uses that the NRA’s Keene cited today. Though it can be used for hunting, the AR-15 isn’t really a hunting rifle. Its standard .223 caliber ammunition doesn’t offer much stopping power for anything other than small game. Hunters themselves find the rifle controversial, with some arguing AR-15-style rifles empower sloppy, “spray and pray” hunters to waste ammunition. (The official Bushmaster XM15 manual lists the maximum effective rate of fire at 45 rounds per minute.) As one hunter put it in the comments section of an article on, “I served in the military and the M16A2/M4 was the weapon I used for 20 years. It is first and foremost designed as an assault weapon platform, no matter what the spin. A hunter does not need a semi-automatic rifle to hunt, if he does he sucks, and should go play video games. I see more men running around the bush all cammo’d up with assault vests and face paint with tricked out AR’s. These are not hunters but wannabe weekend warriors.”
In terms of repelling a home invasion—which is what most people mean when they talk about home defense—an AR-15-style rifle is probably less useful than a handgun. The AR-15 is a long gun, and can be tough to maneuver in tight quarters. When you shoot it, it’ll overpenetrate—sending bullets through the walls of your house and possibly into the walls of your neighbor’s house—unless you purchase the sort of ammunition that fragments on impact. (This is true for other guns, as well, but, again, the thing with the AR-15 is that it lets you fire more rounds faster.)
What the AR-15 is good for is profit. The AR-15 falls into the “sporting rifle” class, and Americans are buying sporting rifles at a rather alarming rate. After 20 first graders were slaughtered in Connecticut, Americans ran out and bought the same rifle the shooter used in that massacre: the AR-15. Variants of the AR-15 have been used in mass shootings in San Bernardino, California, Aurora, Colorado, Newtown, Connecticut, and now, Orlando, Florida. And in the past 10 years, assault-style weapons were used in 14 public mass shootings.
We are the mass shooting capital of the world. The group partially responsible for that is the NRA. The NRA represents about five million people, less than AARP, yet the NRA has more power than any other lobbying group in the country. The NRA employs politicians, Oh not literally, but it might as well be. Politicians who, after every one of these massacres, Tweet out their “thoughts and prayers.”
Fuck your thoughts and prayers. Seriously, just fuck them. Here’s a thought: Do something to STOP THIS. Reinstate the assault-style weapons ban. Make background checks mandatory for every gun sale, even sales at gun shows, between family members, every single goddamn one. Take down Armslist. Make extended clips and magazines illegal. Make it illegal to buy thousands of rounds of ammunition online. If someone tries to buy thousands of rounds of ammunition at a gun store, red flag the purchase, refuse to sell, alert the ATF.
Fifty people died this weekend. Forty-nine members of the LGBT community, who went to Pulse, a wonderful gay nightclub, to dance, laugh, have a cocktail, and enjoy life. Gay clubs are supposed to be safe places for the LGBT community, one of the places they can be themselves. They can kiss, and hold hands, and celebrate love and life, without being called names, or threatened. But at Pulse, one man filled with hate took that safe place away. Pulse will rebuild, Orlando will recover, the LGBT community is coming together all over the world in the aftermath of this attack of terror and hate. This is not the first attack on a gay nightclub; as long as there are people, there will be ignorance, fear, and hatred of the LGBT community. It is, however, the worst gun massacre in our nation’s history.
A man oozing hate opened fire inside a gay nightclub with an AR-15. He was hunting people. LGBT people, people of color (Pulse was hosting a Latino night), people who just wanted a safe place to be themselves. And just like all the other times an AR-15 was used to slaughter innocent people, sales of that weapon will probably go up.
Oh. The NRA was silent after the Pulse massacre, until Monday morning. Then they Tweeted out, via their magazine, American Rifleman, “Need a gift for #FathersDay? How about a gift from the #NRA store?”
Death sells. It sells NRA merchandise, it sells more guns. Especially “sporting rifles” used to hunt. Rifles used to hunt people.