The media is learning, perhaps by pure accident, that the AR-15 isn’t the monster they portray it to be. That’s a lesson that the rest of America learned long ago. But the media continues to propagate misinformation, while it simultaneously busts the MSR (Modern Sporting Rifle) myth.
Media Busts Myth About the MSR
ABC News has been running a series of reports on firearms and criminal violence. Two of those reports are honest about the Modern Sporting Rifle (MSRs), or AR-15 style rifle and the real culprit. Most murders are committed by criminally-obtained handguns, according to an ABC News report.
“The 2016 Survey of Prison Inmates said that 90% of the prisoners who had a gun during their crime didn’t get it from a retail source,” ABC News reported.
That shatters several myths. First, it proves that criminals obtain their firearms illegally. Second, it shows that the MSR isn’t the fabled monster as the media portrays.
Many often malign the rifle, mostly because of a moniker of “assault weapon” associated with the rifle. Josh Sugarmann, who works for the Violence Policy Center gun control group, seized upon the public’s misunderstanding of the semiautomatic black rifle and the automatic firearm used by the military, according to The Washington Post in 2013.
“The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons – anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun – can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons,” Sugarmann wrote in 1988.
Things have changed in more than three decades. The ABC News report describes the fact that while MSR ownership is more common than that of Ford F-150s, they still rarely see use in crime. There are more than 20 million MSRs in circulation, and are the most popular selling centerfire rifles in America today. The fact is most crimes are committed by criminals that illegally obtain handguns.
AR-15-style rifles, or Modern Sporting Rifles (MSR), are not the “assault weapons” the media and gun control circles would have you believe. They are semiautomatic rifles that use the same one-trigger pull, one-fire technology as handguns and shotguns. A technology invented in the late-nineteenth century.
That doesn’t stop media from portraying MSRs as difficult to handle and aim, as CNN did, and dangerous machines capable of breaking a grown man’s arm. Political journalist Kevin McCallum described his first time handling an AR-15 as life altering.
“It is difficult to describe the impact — physical and personal — of that first shot,” McCallum wrote. “A deep shock wave coursed through my body, the recoil rippling through my arms and right shoulder with astounding power.”
That description went viral and drew rebuke from MSR owners across the country. In one response parents of a 7-year old girl posted a video of her firing several rounds from an MSR, demonstrating the rifle’s limited recoil. It’s one of the characteristics that make MSRs popular.
According to FBI data, criminals, who by a 90-percent margin stole their firearm and mostly use a handgun, commit the vast majority of firearm violence. That doesn’t stop gun control advocates from boogey-manning the MSR and seeking to ban them. Recently President Joe Biden has asserted he wants to do again.
The MSR’s modular design easily accepts accessories that make the firearm ideal for users of all sizes and shapes. This is just one reason it is so popular. That’s critical when used for home and self-defense. NSSF’s Mark Oliva told ABC in their report, “The way it’s designed, it is easily adaptable. It can fit my frame. It can also fit my wife, and she can shoot that rifle just as easily.”
Twenty-six year old Megan Hill told NBC News she purchased an AR-15 in 2017. “We looked at the AR-15, and it was all in one package,” Hill said. “Luckily we haven’t had to use it in self-defense, but it’s a comfort knowing that it’s there to protect my children and my family.”
In one of the more high-profile instances of law-abiding citizens using AR-15-style firearms for protection, Steven Williford used an MSR to stop the murderer from inflicting more carnage in the Sutherland Springs, Texas tragedy four years ago. There are numerous other examples media ignore.
Beyond self-defense, MSRs are increasingly popular for their adaptability and effectiveness while used in hunting. The MSR is popular among big game hunters searching for deer, elk and bear, but also as a favored firearm to take out predator species like coyotes and hogs that inflict damage on crops and livestock. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, feral hogs are responsible for $1.5 billion worth of crop damage annually by devastating farmers’ fields by trampling or eating crops and rooting and eating seeds before they sprout.
As a result, Alabama opened up night hunting for hogs and coyotes this year and sold over 500 licenses. 20 states allow hog hunting and the MSR is the overwhelming choice of firearm among hunters to hunt these predators.
Despite what most major media outlets continue to falsely claim, the MSR is a versatile firearm that is able to meet the unique needs of a diverse population that recognizes its functionality and effectiveness, including millions of women.
MSRs are safe and effective, whether for self and home defense or hunting. It’s why there are more than 20 million MSRs in private circulation today.
Originally story posted to NSSF.org.
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