Lee’s note: This guest column was originally published in the Delaware County Daily Times, and is reprinted with permission from the newspaper and the author, Dan McMonigle. Dan is an NRA Training Counselor, Practical Pistol Coach, Chief Range Safety Officer, TASER and OC Instructor, Women On Target Director and US Coast Guard Vet. He lives in southeast Pennsylvania.
Guest Column: A little education and the facts on AR-15 rifle
I have read many impassioned editorials by people who have embellished and misled people on rifles. I am hoping to do some educating to allow those that want to learn to have facts. Many of these embellishing individuals are military veterans, including an officer, who should know better than to lead people into the narrative that they wish to convey.
The AR-15 rifle is not an assault weapon. AR stands for Armalite Rifle and it is a platform, not a rifle. While most people equate the AR-15 platform with military variants, the company was actually founded, in 1954, with the goal of developing civilian market guns using modern materials and manufacturing technologies. So when people tell me it is a weapon of war, I try to share the facts. It was not until 1963 that the United States Air Force purchased 85,000 M-16s, which was a fully automatic rifle with serious upgraded metallurgy. I explain it simply, an AR is a Chevy Malibu with a racing stripe; it is not an Indy Car. Any real gun knowledgeable veteran will tell you these facts are correct.
Many of you have read there was a ban on these rifles from 1994 to 2004. Someone mentions that the NRA lobbied for its removal and then that “Officer and Gentleman” failed to give you all the facts. When Bill Clinton got the ban bill passed it included money for the government to report its impact. After 10 years the report, from the government, stated that there was “no attributable impact to gun violence” with the ban in place. Since 2004, it has been reported that there have been 6 to 10 million sales of this rifle. It is a common use firearm. The reason for that? It is a great training rifle platform. It has seriously low recoil (Like Phil Heron’s BB-Gun) and makes it great for women and youth to learn on. It is customizable to easily fit any student, which increases safety.
As you read people’s writings you may have seen that this rifle fires a bullet that tumbles and shreds its target. I ask you this; a human male averages about 200 pounds, correct? Why then is this rifle caliber of bullet not permitted to be used for hunting deer, which are similar size (200 pounds)? My answer is these people have little understanding of ballistics and impact damage. This caliber, when used in hunting, is used for groundhogs, fox and coyotes.
The flintlock, the percussion cap, the rolling block, the bolt action and the lever action have all been used in United States conflicts at one time or another. This is why when “talking points” are used calling the AR platform a “Weapon of War,” the people who truly know firearms shrug their shoulders.
Lastly, these firearms are shot hundreds of thousands of time every week, at safety-oriented competitions and gun ranges all across the country. Law abiding gun owners doing what they enjoy doing in a safe and legal manner. I see it every week. Somehow I leave these locations with the same amount of holes I came with.
I am not law enforcement, so I will not emote on the terrible Florida tragedy. All law abiding gun owners and, yes, I believe all NRA members, are shocked that a mentally ill person got his hands on any firearm. What I cannot stand for is people making up facts I am thoroughly educated to debate.
Dan McMonigle is a United States Coast Guard Veteran, Certified Firearms Training Counselor, Practical Pistol Coach, Rifle, Shotgun and Personal Protection Professional. He holds the Chief Range Safety Officer certification, is a Women On Target Director and is Certified to Instruct TASER and OC Spray classes for non- lethal self defense.