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Someone Needs to Answer the Question: “Why do Firearms Owners ‘Need’ an AR-15?”

I’m from a rural part of northern MO and I recently traveled home for a high school reunion (discussing how many years will NOT be a part of this content-lol).  After dinner, I made my way around the room and settled in front of a couple, the wife being a classmate, and struck up a conversation.  It quickly went to what I do for a living, and the wife said, “Well, I think all that is fine but I see no reason anyone should ever own an AK-47 or AR-15.”  I was quick on my feet to say my short answer, but I won’t lie.  I was both surprised and disappointed that someone from my hometown would ever have this viewpoint.  However, I am always saying that we all need to listen to each other more and I did listen.  I listened to her deliver some myths and some fear and I had a gut check.  Someone needs to say exactly WHY.  We need to explain why an AR-15 is needed, but more importantly why they should never question anyone’s need for a firearm of any kind.

What does the “AR” in AR-15 stand for?

First, I will repeat again, that AR does not stand for assault rifle.  It stands for Armalite Rifle, the company that first manufactured the lightweight accurate frame.  Calling it an assault rifle is almost comical to people in the industry.  Do you know that if a child whacks you over the head with the toy guns we sell, that would be assault?  You also know that a .22 LR caliber firearm can be as deadly as an AR15 and some AR15’s actually shoot .22 LR caliber ammunition?  So, let’s just start with this obvious thing.  The firearm isn’t any more deadly than any other firearm on the market, or cars, or doctors (the number one cause of death in the US is medical errors), knives…..well, you pick whatever you want.  If you’ve watched one episode of Homicide ID you know humans are inventive and since Cain killed Able with a rock, there has been no lack of imagination of how we can hurt one another as humans.  Taking away tools does not (unfortunately) take away our evil intent toward one another at times. If you are fairly new to the AR platform check out our AR-15 Basics Class!

Is an AR-15 good for home-defense?

Let’s talk home defense.  At Frontier Justice, one of the most recommended firearms for home safety is the AR-15.  Why?  Glad you asked.  We like the AR-15 models because they are lightweight, accurate, low recoil ergonomic modular and they can hold a lot of rounds.  Oh, that is scary to a lot of you, but let us go into a home invasion scenario.  You are a woman who lives alone (or maybe you are married and your husband is away on business).  Three armed men break down your front door and have the intent to rob and rape you.  I know, I know….this is unpleasant.  No one wants to think about this stuff.  But, the truth is if you wait for an incident to happen to you to think about it, it will be sadly too late.  Three men are easily a force to be reckoned with as we know a woman biologically is not going to be as strong as a man.  Three armed men to one woman equals terrible odds for the woman. Check out our Situational Decision-Making Class to get some training on how to respond in life-threatening situations!

So, what do you want in your room?  Do you want a baseball bat so you can hurt one of them before the others take you down?  A knife for the same scenario?  Or, do you want a firearm that is light enough for you to hold for a period of time, that shoots accurately and quickly (no, it is NOT a full auto, you pull the trigger and ONE projectile comes forth with each trigger pull), and gives you multiple rounds to take out the aggressors?  We like it even more with an optic, and light, but start somewhere.

Do you know why you START with the AR-15?  Because you want the BEST odds of survival—for yourself and children! And, I’m sorry, I don’t just want to survive; I want to NOT be harmed at all.

On average the police take 6 minutes or longer to respond in urban areas.  Most crime, including active shooter incidents, are finished inside of 4 minutes.  The police are the cleanup crew.

As I take you through that scenario, I wonder why it is that Americans are willing to hand over their rights to a firearm that levels the playing field in such a fundamental way?  Why are you okay making your odds of survival less?  Why is it not fair for citizens to have firearms equal to or better than criminals?

Do you believe that humans are created free and equal and that those freedoms are institutionalized in our constitution?  We all seem to agree that we are free and equal (or we should be).  In addition, and sometimes stemming from our constitution, we have dozens of different “social contracts” with one another.  We have a social contract with our police to keep us safe.  We have a social contract with our military to protect our freedoms and our country.  But, what happens when we get a politician who intends harm to a group of people or a criminal (I know many of you are now saying, aren’t they one and the same?) who breaks their social contract?  Do they want to do us harm?  Should we not have access to the same firearms afforded to them to protect ourselves and our nation?

I love the story from Pearl Harbor that ends with students shaking their heads asking why the Japanese didn’t go ahead and enter the nation’s mainland.  They told us why—they feared that there would be a firearm behind every blade of grass.  And, they weren’t wrong.  We are strong when we are united.  When we give up freedoms and say, okay, we’ll take a knife to a gunfight, well, then we are in trouble.  We like to outsource our safety, but the truth is, it is up to us.

I told you I’m from a rural area.  I’ve always marveled at how urban lifetime dwellers like to define cultural diversity merely with black and white.  I believe strongly there is a cultural diversity that has to do with urban and rural lifestyles (and a million other things as well).  One thing I appreciate and respect very much about my rural friends is the mentality of not outsourcing their personal responsibility with the aforementioned social contracts.  You will not meet people more willing to protect themselves (and, you,  if necessary) and provide for themselves than rural Americans.  Real men who don’t shy away from their masculinity –the same masculinity that provides food and protection for their families every day because they don’t believe in outsourcing.  The women in these areas are just as capable.

I’d also be remiss if I did not point out how you can use this firearm for self-defense, but as with all firearms, they can also be used for recreational sport.  The AR-15 is more user-friendly for more family members because it is so lightweight and accurate.  It’s fun to shoot!

Why would you need an AR-15 for hunting?

One thing that makes me smile every October and November is my Facebook feed.  It becomes filled with deer stands, deer cam footage, deer kills.  Smiling faces beam from across the Midwest at me with family traditions that center around hunting and firearms.  Many have said, why in the world would anyone take an AR-15 to go hunting?  My answer is, “Why in the world do you think you are qualified to tell me what to hunt with?  I didn’t tell you which bat to take to your baseball game.”  I took an AR-10 to hunt antelope a few years ago.  I will tell you why, exactly.  I was nervous.  I had been on 100s of hunts but had never been the hunter—I was the photographer.  I have a tender heart and killing an animal was serious business for me (as it is for many hunters).  I desperately needed the shot I would take to be a quick kill shot.  I could not bare seeing an animal die slowly or having to shoot twice.  My arms are not super strong yet and the AR was light.  I had a great scope on it and I practiced.  I needed it to be lightweight.  I needed accuracy.  I killed an antelope that hangs in my office at 250 yards with one shot.  He was old and it was likely his last winter.  But, you know what?  I did it, it was fun, and the meat was eaten.


To know you can provide, to know you can protect, to know you are free—that is why we love America and the AR-15.

Will taking away firearms eliminate shootings?

Make no mistake, taking away the AR doesn’t take away anything you seek to remove.  The analogy is that it is like taking aluminum bats from baseball.  People will still play baseball but the serious players might be hindered by not having the right equipment—they might not be as good or have as much fun.  I get it.  I listen.  You think they are “scary” and shoot rounds like an automatic.  None of that is true.  They are the LEAST used firearm in crimes.  It only enables our enemies both at home and abroad to have an upper hand on us by trying to remove a category of tool from the sport of shooting, and from self-defense.  May we never find ourselves at a train car headed to a “work camp” because we were fearful of the unknown for ourselves, so we stripped the personally responsible of their right to protect themselves—and subsequently, all of us.  I’ve stood in a concentration camp.  I encourage the trip for anyone who can afford to do so because I know there are young people who believe this history did not happen.  It did.  It’s real and so is the threat to our second amendment rights—especially when we have rural community members asking the question, do we really need AR-15’s?  Yes; yes we do.

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