It’s true. We can live perfectly well without the Armalite AR15. Common sense will tell you that the Armalite AR15 is out of patent, which means anyone can make a facsimile of it, so go ahead, make the AR15 illegal. We will use the LMT Defender2000, the Noveske N4, the the Colt 6920, or any of the hundreds of similar brands of AR15 pattern rifle for our sporting, hunting, self defense, and civil defense needs.
The argument that a ban on the AR15 would mean all “AR-type rifles”. So be it. How about the Ruger Mini14, Keltec SU16, Saiga, M1 carbine, SKS, or Springfield M1A? Can a criminal choose a legal and less scary looking firearm in the commission of a mass murder? Of course he could. Could a criminal decide to not comply with an assault weapon ban and make or import something illegal with which to commit his crime? Of course he could. Remember, compliance with the law is a choice that law abiding citizens make, and mass murderers are an intelligent, resourceful and determined lot.
What then is the benefit of such restriction?
“If it saves one live, then it’s worth it!”
If that is so, then let us count up how many lives lawful defenders have used such a firearm to protect. By this logic, if it saves one life, then they are worth keeping! That would be common sense, no?
“If we take these weapons of war off the street, bad guys won’t be able to get their hands on them as easily.”
Study history and you will see this is false. Look at Charles Whitman who used a bolt action hunting rifle to murder innocent students and faculty at University of Texas in Austin.
Look at the Virginia Tech shooting, where Seung-Hui Cho used only handguns which are in common circulation everywhere in the country in private ownership. If he could commit the largest school shooting of US history without an AR15, so could anyone else.
Look at the terrorist attacks in Europe that we have seen over the last few years. Did strict legislation regarding firearms stop those attacks? No. Either the attackers stopped on their own volition, or brave men and women in the right time, at the right place, armed with the right tools, and trained in the right skills stopped those attacks. These are the facts.
In fact, if most mass murderers stop on their own, such as in the examples of Columbine and Douglas high school, then common sense tells us that the most effective means of stopping a mass murder attack, would be to ask the attacker to kindly stop! If we are unable or unwilling to put in place the aforementioned brave people in the right place-time-tool-and training, then that is our only option.
Herein lies the answer to why we have AR15s. Conflict is a fact of life. Whether it be conflict between political factions, religious sects, ethnic tribes, foreign invaders, tyrannical government, or domestic terrorist, the solution is the same: Either you accept the consequences of inaction, relying upon the mercy or incompetence of the enemy, or you fight tooth and nail for your desired outcome. Those who are willing to fight for what they want, will eventually get what they want. If you want peace, stability, freedom, safety, you must be willing to fight for it. There is no easier alternative!
To summarize, there is nothing special about one design of rifle, when there are dozens of other suitable and competing contemporary weapons. To make one illegal would simply push both good guys and bad guys to get creative and work around the law, such as by using older technology designed for the same purpose, or sourcing them illegitimately. Frankly, if all guns and knives were made illegal, humans would simply revert back to using rocks and sharp sticks as weapons of conflict. We don’t “need” AR15s. Nonetheless, as tools of conflict resolution, they are technologically superior than sticks and stones, and they happen to be the overwhelmingly the design of choice of Americans.
This is why we have them.
Laws that ban the sale or possession of certain types of weapons do not stop criminals from committing crimes. The solution instead is to focus our energy on understanding and accepting the inevitability of crime, and to work productively to put the right people, in the right place, at the right time, with the right tools, and the right training in order to mitigate the damage that one crazed attacker can do.