AR-15s Suck

The AR-15 is a way popular sporting rifle. Much more popular in the U.S. where people can actually use it for most of its intended purposes, including hunting and home defense. Less popular here in Canada.

And in all honesty, it's a fucking amazing rifle - all the parts are easily changeable and allow you to hot-swap to a different calibre platform in the field, and every part right down to the last screw can be replaced with aftermarket parts. If you don't like something on your AR-15, chances are someone makes a better version of it that will more closely match your preferences. They come in nearly every price range, from cheap-but-solid Chinese clones to high-end tricked out pimp cannons costing thousands of dollars. It's basically the Autobot of rifles, and even though I'm 100% a wood-and-steel guy, I totally want one.

But they suck. In Canada, anyway. Because our laws are fucking retarded.

Consider what the typical AR-15 is (in Canada) at its most basic definition: a semi-automatic rifle with a 5-round magazine firing an intermediate-calibre round. 

Well, I already have one of those - a Russian SKS-45, which was the first gun I bought with my Non-Restricted PAL. It is also semi-automatic rifle, has a magazine pinned to 5 rounds, and shoots an intermediate round. 

Let's not compare the AR-15 to the SVT-40, another semi-auto, 5-round rifle which fires a very powerful round capable of killing any animal in North America. Nosir, that's apples and oranges. The .223 round has penetration power, but the 7.62x54r can kill a wall hiding behind another wall. 

I think the SKS comparison is much more fair, because the 7.62x39mm round is basically the evil cousin of the 5.56x54mm NATO. It's a heavier projectile propelled by slightly less powder, but it will pound through cinderblocks and thin steel plates just fine. It's accurate enough for small game hunting - lots of Canadians use their SKS rifles for deer and coyotes, and lots of Americans use them for wild hogs. You can dress up a SKS in black or tan plastic furniture with rails, you can buy a number of different types of scope mounts and slap a bunch of tacticool attachments all over it. With some of the tactical stocks, you don't even need to remove the folding bayonet - a couple of manufacturers build them with bayonet slots, plus tactical rails. 

Functionally, there is very little difference between this tarted-up SKS and an AR-15 in stock configuration. Intermediate cartridge, 5-round capacity, semi-automatic action. Tacticool SKS

Legally, though, it's a different story. The AR-15 is a Restricted firearm, and the SKS is Non-Restricted. 

Now, that in and of itself isn't such a terrible thing. At the risk of offending all the right-to-bear-arms people and my fellow libertarians, I don't mind that we are required to obtain specialized licensing for certain kinds of guns. I don't mind having to go through a screening process and a background check to get a Restricted license, because that means there's at least some kind of screening for dangerous individuals with mental health issues or propensities for criminal behaviour. My issue is the actual restrictions. 

For example, despite the fact that the AR-15 is a totally great rifle for small game and varmints, we Canadians can't use it for that. We can't even legally discharge the weapon on our own property - the same as with handguns, because most handguns are also Restricted firearms. Any time we want to put our fingers on the triggers, we need to fill out government paperwork, cart the thing to an approved shooting range (directly there, by the shortest route, with no stops for errands or whatever), shoot some paper targets with it, then pack it up and take it home. The laws are such that, if you remove the AR-15 from your gun safe to clean it, you are at risk of breaking the law. 

There is no logical reason for the AR-15 to be classified as Restricted. The Ruger Mini-14 - the weapon used in the École Polytechnique de Montréal shootings in 1989 - is a Non-Restricted firearm. The Norinco M305 - the weapon used in the Moncton shooting in 2014 - is a Non-Restricted firearm. We have shit-tons of Non-Restricted semi-automatic rifles. I own three of them myself. But the AR-15 is restricted because it looks scary, and because anti-gun people believe that nice people "don't need semi-automatic assault rifle murder-guns that can disperse 30 calibre magazine clips in half a second."

Let's clear that term "assault rifle" up. There's no such fucking thing as an "assault rifle," and anyone using the term is speaking from a place of ignorance and misinformation spread by fearmongers. 

"Assault" is not an inherent function of any gun. "Assault" is human intent - you commit assault by assaulting someone. An "assault weapon" is therefore a weapon used to commit an act - one which a gun, an inanimate device, is not capable of committing on its own. Guns are designed to discharge a bullet when the trigger is pulled, and the operating mechanism has no capacity for morality or emotion. Even full-auto military weapons (which the AR-15 is not; it is a civilian firearm) are not capable of committing assault on their own. They may be used by human soldiers for combat maneuvers which can be called "assaults," or those weapons can be used by bad people for committing actual assaults, but again - assault is intent, not function. It was sadly proven fairly conclusively last year in Ottawa that a person can commit deadly assault with lever-action farmer guns, even against men armed with modern military weapons. 

This is why the AR-15 sucks. Nevermind that it is the same as hundreds of other Non-Restricted firearms. Nevermind that it is an amazing, adaptable platform with a plethora of potential uses. Nevermind that it is a great tinker-toy for grownup hobbyists. We Canadians can't use it for anything but shooting holes in paper at special parks, and people are fucking scared of it because movies and Adam Lanza. 

I totally want one, because they're awesome, but also I don't, because our laws are too goddamn dumb. 

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