January 31, 2013

GUN CULTURE: A reader emails:

May I suggest a hidden rationale for the apparently irrational objections to modern sporting rifles: the AR-15 family of weapons has become the armaments equivalent of the Volkswagen or the Ford model T, it has become the gun for everyone. It is dangerous because it is popular, rather than the other way around. It is a cultural game-changer, just as mass-market automobiles were, and the forces of regression would rather not have their game changed.

Of course, before the Model T and the Volkswagen there were the Equalizer and the Peacemaker, revolutionary firearms that were just as controversial in their day as the AR-15 is today, and for much the same reason. They weren’t the first revolvers, but they made the revolver a mass-market item, the People’s handgun. The forces of regression of old were not pleased that the people should have handguns, they were opposed to equalization and peacemaking!

Yes, the highly adaptable and customizable nature of the AR-15 has helped to make it especially popular. Indeed, although gun-controllers claim they can ban “assault weapons” because the Supreme Court left open the possibility of banning dangerous or unusual weapons, the AR-15, as the most popular rifle in America, is clearly not “unusual.” Nor is it particularly dangerous.