Sorry, America, But We’ve Got To Get Our Shit Together


I’m sorry, folks, but we need to get rid of the AR-15 and guns like it.

Hear me out.

Time Magazine reported that the AR-15 can fire 45 rounds per minute. A pro-gun blog, apparently offended by this slight to their trigger-pulling speed, corrected it: it’s actually closer to 120 rounds per minute. Someone else estimated 180 rounds per minute, but noted that in reality it’s dependent on how fast you can pull the trigger. Theoretically, it could be as high as 800 rounds per minute, if you could ever find someone whose finger was fast enough to fire 13 times a second.

However, that last link also points out that you’re limited by the number of rounds in a magazine, which is typically 30 or less. (However, it is possible to buy a 100-round drum magazine for the AR-15. Online.)  When the magazine is empty, you have to stop shooting and replace it with a new one.  How long does that take?

According to AR-15 enthusiasts, approximately three seconds.

Also, this exists. Pleasant dreams.

There are better guns for hunting. There are better guns for self-defense. Here are the three things the AR-15 excels at:

  • competitive or recreational shooting
  • zombie apocalypse
  • murdering a whole bunch of people in a crowd at once

The first one, you know, I get it. Bad Liberal Confession time, I like guns too. They go boom; this pleases me. But sometimes, just sometimes, it’s necessary to use logic beyond the three-year-old’s cry of “but I WANT it!”

The second one, yes. In the case of the zombie apocalypse, I will happily admit that I was wrong, wrong, wrong, and accept every bit of your blame. You can feed me to the zombies to buy yourselves more time, I won’t hold it against you.

But so far I’ve seen far more mass shootings than I have zombies.

The thing is, gun enthusiasts themselves say that looking at the high-end of firing rate is ridiculous, because even if your finger can technically fire that quickly, it doesn’t allow time to aim. “So the moderately higher rates would be effective only in situations in which the shooter is indiscriminately shooting into a group like a gang, mob, army or crowd of innocents.”

…Like, I don’t know, firing into a dark and crowded nightclub?

So maybe my issue isn’t with the AR-15 specifically. It’s probably a very nice gun, calls its mother on Sunday and all that. My issue is: why the fuck do civilians have access to rates of fire that are literally only effective when firing indiscriminately into a mass of people???

Some counter-arguments:

“Good Guy With A Gun” – okay, plenty of other people have torn this myth apart; for the purposes of what I’m saying, if you’re in a crowded and panicked room and one person is spraying bullets at 180 rounds a minute, and someone else responds by spraying bullets back at 180 rounds a minute, what you’re going to get is even more dead bodies. Even if I were to accept every other aspect of the GGWAG myth, there is no reason for guns that can manage that rate of fire.

“Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People” – Cars don’t run over people, people run over people. But I’m gonna do a lot less damage if I hit you with my bicycle than with my car. The type of weapon you use drastically affects the damage you can do – you can kill one or two people with a knife, but it’s an awful lot harder to kill 20 or 30 or 50.  Guns with a lower rate of fire are simply not going to kill as many people when fired into a crowd. Guns that take more time to reload give victims a better chance to get to safety, and give first responders more time to interrupt the attack.

“But Won’t That Make Us Less Safe? What If I NEED All That For Self Defense?” – again, no. As even pro-gun folks have pointed out, these ridiculous rates of speed decrease accuracy tremendously. That makes them useful in situations where you don’t NEED accuracy, but again, the situations in which a civilian shooter realistically will not need accuracy are limited to zombie apocalypses and murder sprees.  If you’re acting in self-defense, accuracy matters. In fact, having access to those high rates of fire may make everyone LESS safe; if you panic and start spraying bullets, with your accuracy going to shit, the chances of hitting someone you do not want to hit become higher.  Why take that risk?

We’ve reached the point, guys. We need to put a stop to this. “Ban Assault Rifles” is a vague and unhelpful slogan, but unfortunately “stop putting guns that have the ability to fire triple-digits worth of bullets per minute and take seconds to reload into the hands of civilians” doesn’t fit on t-shirts as well. But that’s what needs to happen. It’s time.


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