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December 22nd, 2012, 22:05
I don't really agree with his assessment of assault rifles being the best self-defense weapon. I think his idea of what sort of situations he may find himself in where he needs to defend himself might make more sense if he was still over seas on deployment rather than what would be more in line with reality stateside. From the way he describes potentially getting into firefights, it sounds like he's thinking of most of his self defense scenarios playing out more like military engagements than things like being the target of a crime of opportunity.

For urban environments and home defense, a shotgun would seem to make far more sense a top choice than an assault rifle. Loud, intimidating, larger margin for error on aiming, and less problems with over-penetration. An assault rifle would be the clear choice if you were considering protracted firefights with targets at around 500 feet but given the realities of crime in the US that scenario makes for a piss poor basis on which to recommend it as the best self-defense weapon. Outside the home a handgun would seem to make more sense.

There are some scenarios in which something like an AR-15 would be a better choice even for the non-agressor, but they aren't likely enough for it to make sense to call the class of weapon the best for self defense. The qualities of these sorts of weapons in which they are generally superior tend - such as ammo capacity, as well as ability to penetrate at range with accuracy - tend to be most important when facing multiple opponents outside of extreme close quarters.

Unless those opponents are coming in the form of a team from the sheriff's office, it may be difficult for some to imagine a plausible situation where you see aggressors approaching from some distance and have the opportunity and justification to engage them in numbers or at ranges where an assault rifle would be a more ideal choice than a shotgun or a more readily available handgun. There may certainly be some and there could be one or two modern examples where someone defended themselves with an assault rifle in which they would not have been better able to do so with another form of weapon. Given the perceived implausibility of such situations though, the estimation that these are the best weapons to have for self-defense makes it appear as though the speaker sees these kinds of threats as abounding where others do not or they have a far different idea of self-defense than the legal one.

Considering more likely situations one may encounter as a target of violent crime, it could be very misleading and unhelpful to give the impression that if someone were looking for a gun for self-defense that they should consider assault style semi-automatic rifles as the best choice. That assumes they are already of a like mind with regard to legal and political issues involved. For those that do not see a need for this weapon but may be open to being convinced to support the right to own it, this labeling of assault rifles as "the best for self-defense" will come across as either disingenuous or as the product of delusion.

To those who might be convinced but are predisposed to otherwise disagree, this may be like attempting to defend the free speech rights of groups like Westboro Baptist by explaining why you think we need hate groups. Arguing for the need to allow something some find distasteful or dangerous as part of a larger right or set of rights tends to be much more successful than trying to argue for the necessity that particular thing.
Last edited by jhwisner; December 23rd, 2012 at 00:49.
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jhwisner

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