Federal Judge Roger Benitez’s overturning of California’s 32-year assault weapons ban has brought the debate to the media limelight all over again, giving both sides of the argument new occasion to aggravate each other.
While I’m thrilled about this step in the right direction for California, the issue is far from over and we should probably hang back and wait for the appeals court to do its thing before celebrating too hard.
Until then though, let’s quickly discuss a small sub argument being had in the background of this larger debate.
In recent years, as the term “assault rifle” was relentlessly demonized by the media and anti-gun groups, those in the firearms industry started to employ the term “modern sporting rifle.”
Naturally, use of this term only further angered anti-second amendment groups because they felt it was a blatant attempt to steer the conversation away from gun violence issues.
Maybe it was a strategic move on the industry’s part to move the conversation in a more positive direction. Semantics do matter after all. However, no matter the industry’s motivation for renaming the 21st Century’s favorite firearm, there is no doubt that “modern sporting rifle” is a true and honest term to describe the AR-15, AK-47, G3 and all their cool cousins.
In comparison to their heavy framed, wooden stock, iron sight grandfathers, AR-15s are undoubtedly “modern.” Attend any formal shooting sports competition across the country and you’ll find a truckload of gorgeous, customized AR-15s — making it a “sporting rifle” as well. Some states even allow hunters to use ARs in the field. Thus, ARs are indeed the “modern sporting rifle.”
And there’s good reason for the AR’s takeover in modern shooting sports. They’re the little black dress of rifles – fit for all occasions and well suited for a variety of shooters. They’re lightweight, compact, accurate, tons of fun to shoot and easily customized to a shooter’s unique needs and preferences.
As the California ruling continues to spur discussion, it remains more important than ever for shooting enthusiasts to articulately and accurately define the terms of this important national debate.