The Corner

Law & the Courts

Yes, ‘Assault Rifles’ Are Good for Home Defense

One of the consistent arguments advanced in favor of banning so-called “assault rifles” from the civilian market is the assertion that they’re somehow inappropriate for home defense. Tell that to this guy:

Gunfire rang out Monday afternoon in a home in Broken Arrow, an Oklahoma city 15 miles southeast of Tulsa. Three intruders were killed after the son of the homeowner fired a semiautomatic rifle in what local law enforcement officers later described as an act of self-defense, though their investigation remains open.

The intruders — a 16-year-old, a 17-year-old and a man thought to be 18 or 19 — had smashed open the back door of the house, the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement posted to Facebook. Their plan was burglary, authorities said.

They wore gloves, masks and all-black clothes, Wagoner County Deputy Nick Mahoney told Tulsa World. Two of the teenagers were armed, one with a knife and the other with brass knuckles.

The semiautomatic rifle was reportedly an AR-15, exactly the type of gun that numerous liberals tell conservatives that they don’t “need” for self-defense. As I wrote last year:

[W]hen your life is on the line, what do you want? More accuracy or less? More firepower or less? More recoil or less? More reliability or less? It’s always interesting to take a relatively inexperienced shooter to a range, let them first shoot a handgun (where the bullets generally scatter all over the target), and then hand them an AR. Even rookies will shoot far more accurately with far less recoil. It’s just easier to use.

But don’t take it from me. A number of self-defense experts also choose AR-style rifles to defend their own homes, and as the rifle continues to grow in popularity I would expect more stories like the report out of Oklahoma. An AR-15 isn’t the right self-defense solution for everyone, but for those who know how to use the weapon and can safely store it while still maintaining quick access, it can save innocent lives. 

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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