Why a semi-automatic rifle a good choice for home defense

Originally posted in January of 2013, Jim Vicevich asked me to repost this today. Minor edits have been made. Please read and share this post via social media.

A firearm can be an appropriate part of a complete home-defense plan, but it should not be the only plan. Motion activated exterior lights, locking your doors and windows, an alarm system, and a barking dog (if appropriate) are important. Your plan should include where you will go and where your family members will go if someone breaks in. Call for help and take a defensive approach where you – and your firearm if you have one – are between the intruder or intruders and your family. This may be difficult in some home designs, but you need to figure it out. I personally do not think you should “clear” your house if you have, or strongly suspect, an intruder. Many law enforcement officers I know will not clear their home by themselves.

Why a semi-automatic rifle a good choice for home defense.

Here is a list of valid reasons, in no particular order.

  1. You can mount a light, red dot sight and/or a laser to the rifle to make it easier to used and aim during the day or night.
  2. They have a reasonable recoil, making the gun – for many users – easier to shoot as compared to a defense-caliber shotgun or pistol.
  3. They can be customized to “fit” a variety of body types and shooting styles. They can be configured and adjusted for different shooting distances (less than 5 yards to more than 200 yards).
  4. The .223/5.56 self-defense round is appropriate for use within a home, even in an urban environment. Ballistic experts have found rounds from these calibers “dump energy” quickly and break apart or begin to tumble after penetrating the first barrier. Will rifle rounds go through walls? You bet. Will pistol calibers like 9mm, .40 and .45 go through walls? You bet. Will shotgun rounds go through walls? You bet. That said, there is significant evidence the .223/5.56 self-defense rounds penetrate no more than, and often less than traditional handgun calibers and many shotgun rounds.
  5. A rifle is much more capable of stopping a threat as compared to a pistol.
  6. Semi-automatic rifles are more accurate than a pistol or shotgun.
  7. Ammunition is (normally) readily available and (normally) priced within reason.
  8. In a self-defense situation, you want to avoid manipulating the firearm at all except for pulling the trigger straight back. Law enforcement and civilians do not favor high-capacity magazines so they can shoot more rounds, they favor them so they can manipulate their gun less. If reloading is needed, it is possible but let’s be completely honest, in many self defense situations, ten rounds may not be enough.

For a more detailed review, check out this post.

Orlando club shooting – Evil exists

Suggesting a ban or extreme restrictions on the inanimate objects used during violent, abhorrent, unimaginable atrocities is an easy way to say you want to “do something.” These wonderful people – with their hearts in the right place – really think more laws, restrictions and just loving everyone will significantly help. But Evil exists.

We know bans don’t work. More laws don’t work. More “common sense” restrictions don’t work. More background checks don’t work. Good intentions don’t count for much in the real world, and I’d like to think there are still many of us who prefer to see results.

This is a gang problem. This is a mental health problem. This is a “life is cheap” problem. This is a political correctness problem. This is a “give them another chance society” problem. This is a culture problem.

And yes, this is a radical islamic terrorism problem.

Dealing with those issues is the hard stuff, and I’m convinced we are unwilling to take on the hard stuff, because those hard problems cost us too much, and not just in dollars. I totally get it.

The utopia, fantasy world without weapons or hate has never existed, and it never will exist. But Evil does exist, and instead of dealing with that reality, many continue to wonder “what we did” to deserve it.

Those 50 souls, their family and friends didn’t deserve what happened to them in Orlando yesterday. The United States does not deserve what is happening to us now and the human race does not deserve it either. But it is our unfortunate reality.

The terrible impact of a multi-chance society

The judicial system and politicians who are in favor of a second, third and/or a fourth chance society are partly to blame for this. Although you may hear differently, trust me, nobody is in prison for “smoking a little weed,” but there are criminals who should be locked up, yet are let go with low bail or their own recognizance over-and-over again.

The career criminal who killed Auburn, Massachusetts Police Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr. early this week had a long criminal history. The convict was 35 and started his adult criminal career at 17. With 27 court appearances, he logged 20 misdemeanor convictions and TEN felony convictions. Who knows what he did as a “youthful offender.” Just this year… From the Boston Herald

On Jan. 25, he was arraigned on charges of assault and battery on a police officer and resisting arrest after allegedly grabbing a cop by the shirt and trying to pull him into a car with a large pit bull inside. In a hearing that lasted just over a minute, he was released on his own recognizance by Judge Paul L. McGill.

On Feb. 11, he [was] charged with assault and battery on a family member for allegedly punching a woman in the face on the side of Interstate 495, as well as resisting arrest and driving with a revoked license. He was released by Judge Andrew L. Mandell on $500 cash bail. Prosecutors had requested that his bail on a prior offense be revoked, a request Mandell denied.

On May 11, he appeared in court for a probation violation hearing after failing numerous drug screenings and missing appointments with his probation officer; the hearing lasted less than one minute and he was ordered to return to court June 9.

On May 16, he was arrested in Worcester for driving an unregistered vehicle with false license plates on a suspended license; he was arraigned that day and released on his own recognizance by Judge Janet J. McGuiggan. Prosecutors did not seek bail.
Six days later, he shot and killed Tarentino.

This criminal – like many others – are given opportunity after opportunity to “turn their life around.” It’s over… it’s got to stop.

Hartford Courant OpEd: 2nd Amendment does not include “assault rifles”

In an opinion piece published in the Hartford Courant today by Noah Feldman, a constitutional law professor at Harvard, Feldman outright states the 2nd Amendment does not include assault rifles. His reasoning comes down to this*, with my emphasis.

… there’s something special about weapons that can be used both for self-defense and for militias … those are the weapons that the men who ratified the Second Amendment had in mind.

Today, that includes handguns. But it doesn’t include assault rifles. They’re great for military purposes, and no doubt fun to shoot on the range. But they aren’t useful for self-defense, almost by definition.

I’m going to assume Feldman is using the now traditional gun-controler’s definition of an “assault weapon” including simple, semi-auto rifles and outright tell him he is wrong.

First, the government’s definition of an “assault weapon” has been changed and manipulated beyond belief. It started in 1994 – or before in some attempts at the state level – with the so-called Assault Weapons Ban that literally changed the definition for political purposes. They lumped in rifles with “special features” into the assault weapon category. You know… special deadly features like adjustable stocks (oh, the horror) and shoulder things that go up.

Prior to 1994 and after the 1934 National Firearms Act, the term was used in the government exclusively for certain military firearms that could be set to select fire or full auto. President Obama and many other gun control activists to this day lie, defining semi-automatics as fully automatic. They know the difference and are purposefully claiming “assault weapons” equal “machine guns” to ensure confusion. There is no other explanation other than “they are lying for political purposes, targeting people who know little about firearms.”

Oh, and there have been so few machine guns, sub-machine guns, or fully automatic firearms used in crimes, it’s almost immeasurable. But back to the topic at hand, Feldman’s claim…

But they aren’t useful for self-defense, almost by definition.

Again, wrong. In January 2013, the Department of Homeland Security put out a bid for a rifle to be used by law enforcement in the US that would be “suitable for personal defense use in close quarters…” The request for proposal is still available right here. I wrote about it in January of 2013. In short, Homeland Security stated the personal defense weapon of choice for law enforcement in close quarters was – in generic terms – an AR-15 capable of select fire (3-round burst) and full auto. Funny huh? And yet Feldman does not think the semi-auto version of the gun is useful for self-defense?

Don’t worry professor, I’m not done. Along with law enforcement all over the country pulling their semi-auto, select-fire (somewhat rare) and full-auto (very rare) rifles out of the racks or the trunk when they know they are going into a situation where they would have to defend themselves or others, in a majority of instances, it makes sense for these rifles to be used for home defense.

I’m certainly not saying this is the best choice for everyone, but here is a list of valid reasons I’ve written before, in no particular order.

  1. You can mount a light, red dot sight and/or a laser to the rifle to make it easy to use and aim during the day or night.
  2. They have a reasonable recoil, making the gun – for many users – easier to shoot as compared to a defense-caliber shotgun or pistol.
  3. They can be customized to “fit” a variety of body types and shooting styles. They can be configured and adjusted for different shooting distances (less than 5 yards to more than 200 yards).
  4. The .223/5.56 self-defense round is absolutely appropriate for use within a home, even in an urban environment. Ballistic experts have found rounds from these calibers “dump energy” quickly and break apart or begin to tumble after penetrating the first barrier. Will rifle rounds go through walls? You bet. Will pistol calibers like 9mm, .40 and .45 go through walls? You bet. Will shotgun rounds go through walls? You bet. That said, there is significant evidence the .223/5.56 self-defense rounds penetrate no more than, and often less than traditional handgun calibers and many shotgun rounds.
  5. A rifle is much more capable of stopping a threat as compared to a pistol.
  6. Semi-automatic rifles are more accurate than a pistol or shotgun.
  7. Ammunition is (normally) readily available and (normally) priced within reason.
  8. You (some of you) can buy high-capacity magazines for many semi-automatic rifles. In a self-defense situation, you want to avoid manipulating the firearm at all except for pulling the trigger straight back. Law enforcement and civilians do not favor high-capacity magazines so they can shoot more rounds, they favor them so they can manipulate their gun less. If reloading is needed, it is possible but let’s be completely honest, in many self defense situations, ten rounds may not be enough.

Maybe, just maybe Feldman is confused about what rifles we are talking about here. Maybe he’s so illiterate about the subject he really thinks full-auto rifles are what we’re talking about? I’m not going to give him the benefit of the doubt, he’s a Harvard professor for goodness sakes.

* The Courant’s article is behind a paywall this morning. I excerpted the article above, but here is the three paragraphs I paraphrased.

That leaves the view that there’s something special about weapons that can be used both for self-defense and for militias. According to Scalia, those are the weapons that the men who ratified the Second Amendment had in mind.

Today, that includes handguns. But it doesn’t include assault rifles. They’re great for military purposes, and no doubt fun to shoot on the range. But they aren’t useful for self-defense, almost by definition.

It emerges that a careful, responsible originalist wouldn’t apply Second Amendment protection to weapons that aren’t simultaneously for self-protection and for hypothetical militias.

 

Gun Control: Limiting the self-defense options of the law-abiding

Violent crime – including gun crime – is a problem in the US. Of course, it’s a lot less of a problem than it was in 1993, when the violent crime and murder rate was almost double what it is today. I wonder why politicians are not taking credit? Still, tragedies in schools, on the street or at work should never happen. Nobody wants that. That is not a “goal” for anyone or any special interest group. It’s a ridiculous suggestion.

Have an issue with the law-abiding being able to purchase firearms and carry them for self-defense? I’d like you to consider just one of thousands of incidents – every year – where someone with a gun stopped a violent crime, sometimes without firing a shot.

On Monday night, a 65-year-old woman from New Hampshire, 4-11 and 105 pounds, was stalked and followed home by a 5-11, 200 pound criminal. As she tried to get into her home, he cut her off and tried to grab her. In fear for her life, she shot him, stopping the attack. She got into her house and called 911. The criminal’s partner-in-crime (a female) scooped him up and took him to the hospital where he was treated, and charged with felony robbery.

Soul-searching time: Would you deny this woman the right to use a firearm for self-defense? She could have been raped, kidnapped or murdered. We don’t have a crystal ball, and neither did this woman on Monday night. Maybe he “just” wanted to knock her out and take her wallet. We’ll never know, but would you be OK changing the laws of this country to limit her self-defense options? Would you be OK restricting her freedom to choose the self-defense option that best suites her needs?

That’s what additional gun-control legislation does. It limits the options law-abiding folk have. No, the NRA does not want the mentally ill who are a danger to themselves/others or criminals to have “easy” access to guns. As mentioned before … that’s ridiculous. Let’s not use straw-man arguments in our debates, it’s a waste of time.

My guess is you will not hear any stories like this – and there are a lot – at President Obama’s town hall meeting on CNN tomorrow night.

From WMUR in New Hampshire

Police: Woman, 65, shoots would-be robber in chest

“Something in my head said to take the gun out of my purse,” the woman told News 9.

With her hand on the gun now in her coat pocket, she told News 9 that she headed toward her apartment. She said she looked behind and saw a man following her.

The woman told police that a white man wearing a dark, hooded sweatshirt ran past her and blocked her path.

“Ten feet from the front stairs. That’s when he caught up to me, and he came around me and stood right in front of me. Right in my face,” she said.

The woman told News 9 that the man yelled at her.

She said he reached out and tried to grab her, but she pulled her handgun from her pocket and shot him once in the chest at close range.

The video at the WMUR website as well as the story at the New Hampshire Union Leader identify this criminal as 23-year-old Michael Bontaites, and the partner-in-crime being one Zachary Boyd, a 30-year-old career criminal who has now been charged with being a felon in possession of a deadly weapon for having a knife.

Less than three months ago, Bontaites was charged with criminal threatening.

Then there is Boyd, who was charged with felony drug possession just two months ago, with additional charges going back 10 years.

Zachary Boyd, 30, of 326 Amherst St., told Judge William Barry: “I’ll lose everything I own.” He also told Barry he hasn’t been in trouble for a while.
Boyd was charged with felony drug possession, heroin, and misdemeanor possession of a controlled drug, marijuana, after he was found unconscious in his vehicle earlier Thursday, with the vehicle in drive.
Police prosecutor Carrissa Pelletier said Boyd is subject to a 72-hour probation/parole hold. She said his record dates back to 2005 and includes burglary and a 2012 conviction in Hillsborough County Superior Court South for robbery.

There’s more… Boyd was shot during a home invasion in 2006 when two men forced their way in to his apartment to steal drugs. Boyd looked to be a big-time dealer.

Shot man wanted on drug charges

A Manchester man who was shot in the back by an intruder this month now is suspected on drug charges.

The police say that when they searched Zachary Boyd’s apartment as part of the shooting investigation, they found a large amount of drugs.

Boyd, 21, was released from the hospital, and the police said they don’t know where he is.

They also are looking for two men who forced their way into the apartment Oct. 3 and shot Boyd.

For Obama, federal government reach has NO limit – Free college proposed

For years, I’ve been advocating the complete shutdown of the U.S. Department of Education. In the United States Constitution, funding of education is never mentioned or implied, but for 35 years federal government has been handing out cash to states and school systems in return for capitulating to prescribed standards and rules created by federal bureaucrats. Now President Obama wants to offer up “free” college education.

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Video: Officer defends himself, shoots teen near Ferguson, Mo.

Overnight, a police officer shot and killed a teenager outside a gas station in Berkeley, Mo. just west of Ferguson. I almost never write about breaking news anymore. Usually when some sort of tragic event happens, the information in the first hours or days turns out to be totally wrong. But today, I’ll make an exception to reference how the story is being told at the outset.

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