Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Features News

The Truth About The AR-15 And Crime

The Truth About The AR-15 And Crime

Amid all the overheated rhetoric we’re hearing from the media and anti-gun politicians lately about so-called “assault rifles,” the dirty little secret that anti-gunners don’t want you to know is that these firearms are not “military,” they’re not “weapons of war,” and they’re not used in more than a tiny proportion of all crimes. 

So: How did these firearms become the latest “evil gun” to be targeted with bans?

In a word—cosmetics

For decades, the gun-ban movement targeted handguns as the Mother Of All Evil Guns. 

Indeed, two of the main players in the gun-ban lobby made the hated handgun part of their identity: The National Coalition to Ban Handguns, and Handgun Control Inc.

But then something unexpected happened along the way to their envisioned prohibition on handguns in this country: Millions of Americans bought them, many if not most of whom had never owned handguns before.

And since knowledge is one of the best weapons against fear, those new handgun owners had the knowledge to see through the anti-gun lobby’s falsehoods and fear-mongering.

So it’s no surprise that the gun-ban lobby changed its targets and its tactics. 

Since Americans now knew their hype and hysteria about handguns was just that, the gun-ban lobby rebranded itself. Handgun Control Inc. became today’s kinder, gentler “Brady Campaign.” 

Meanwhile, the anti-gun lobby set out to find a new “evil gun” to malign with a new line of lies—and they found it in the form of the so-called “assault rifle.”

As Josh Sugarmann, a founder of the anti-gun Violence Policy Center, explained it: “The public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is presumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.” 

Since then, the gun-ban lobby, anti-gun politicians and an enabling media have done their best to confuse the American people about these firearms.

So for the umpteenth time, let’s set the record straight: 

  • Semi-automatic so-called “assault rifles” are not machine guns.
  • They don’t “spray bullets,” and they can’t be readily converted into machine guns.
  • They’re not more powerful than other firearms.
  • Most so-called “assault rifles” are less powerful than most typical deer rifles.
  • The .223 Rem. cartridge used by the AR-15 is barred for deer hunting in some states because it isn’t powerful enough.
  • And so-called “assault rifles” are not “the weapon of choice” of criminals—in fact, they are used far less in violent crime than almost any other type of weapon.


According to the latest statistics from the FBI, rifles of any kind—of which semi-automatic so-called “assault rifles” are a small subset—are used in less than 2.5 percent of all homicides. 

By comparison, so-called “personal weapons”—meaning fists and feet, primarily—are used in more than twice as many murders as rifles of any kind. And handguns are used in 20 times as many homicides as rifles of any kind.It’s a lie designed to dispossess you not just of your firearms but also your freedom to defend yourself and your family. Don’t surrender either one.

So if the anti-gun lobby really wants to save lives, rather than just ban guns, why don’t they focus on handguns rather than so-called assault rifles? Maybe because they can’t bury the fact that criminals don’t obey gun-control laws any more than they obey the laws against murder, rape and robbery.

That’s yet another reason why President Bill Clinton’s 10-year ban on so-called “assault rifles” was such a monumental flop at stopping armed crime. 

Clinton’s own Department of Justice looked at the law and, despite their best efforts, admitted that it didn’t accomplish a thing.

As even The New York Times pointed out in a 2014 article headlined “The Assault Weapon Myth,” Clinton’s DoJ looked at the law and concluded that “Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

So when the gun-ban lobby, along with its backers in the media and Hillary Clinton’s dishonest Democrats, try to sell the country yet another “assault rifle” ban as their latest phony approach to violent crime, don’t fall for it—and don’t let your fellow Americans fall for it, either.

It’s a lie designed to dispossess you not just of your firearms but also your freedom to defend yourself and your family. Don’t surrender either one to their dishonest and dangerous schemes.