The United States Department of Homeland Security has stated a rifle chambered in 5.56 NATO (compatible with .223) with a magazine capacity of 30 rounds is “suitable for personal defense use in close quarters…”
Well smack me up-side the head. First, a hat tip to Breitbart’s Awr Hawkins who pointed us to a posted General Services Administration (GSA) business opportunity solicitation posted and updated last summer. Basically, the site posts a request for proposal (RFP) for personal defense weapons for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
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This RFP is not for the traditional armed forces. This solicitation is specific to law enforcement who almost exclusively work within and along the borders of the United States. Certainly the threats ICE officers may be subject to are the same exact threats law-abiding residents could be subject to.
Section C of solicitation number HSCEMS-12-R-00011 is pretty specific. Here is a direct link to the Section C PDF (246KB). My emphasis in bold. Notice the term assault weapon or assault rifle is not used anywhere in the document. The “assault weapon” terminology is only used for non-LEOs and non-military who own those firearms.
The scope of this contract is to provide a total of up to 7,000 5.56x45mm North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) personal defense weapons (PDW) throughout the life of this contract to numerous Department of Homeland Security components. …
In paragraph 3.1 under requirements and testing standards we read…
DHS and its components have a requirement for a 5.56x45mm NATO, select-fire firearm suitable for personal defense use in close quarters and/or when maximum concealment is required.
Isn’t that inconvenient for the gun control politicians? In requirement paragraph 3.9.10, they find a need for a 30-round magazine.
The action shall be capable of accepting all standard NATO STANAG 20 and 30 round M16 magazines (NSN 1005-00-921-5004) and Magpul 30 round PMAG (NSN 1005-01-576-5159). The magazine well shall be designed to allow easy insertion of a magazine.
In paragraph 3.21.2, they again specify the requirement for a 30-round magazine.
The magazine shall have a capacity to hold thirty (30) 5.56x45mm NATO rounds.
If you did not catch the interesting part in one of the quoted sentences above, let me point it out to you. The personal defense weapon should be select-fire capable.
DHS and its components have a requirement for a 5.56x45mm NATO, select-fire firearm suitable for personal defense use in close quarters…
The action shall be select-fire (capable of semi-automatic and automatic fire).
From the Fire Control Section, paragraph 3.10.1.
The fire control selector shall have three positions; safe, semi-automatic, and automatic. The selector shall have positions which are clearly labeled for the mode of fire.
This formal DHS RFP – which is specific concerning requirements – clearly indicates a select-fire rifle is appropriate for personal defense in close quarters. If it is appropriate for law enforcement, why is it not appropriate for civilian use? (Select-fire/automatic capable weapons are generally not used in situations where you need accuracy; like for home defense.)
As mentioned before, citizens and gun owners have compromised during the last 75 years including making access to automatic fire rifles extremely restricted to the point you can not buy a new one from any gun dealer or manufacture. We have compromised enough.
The National Firearms Act of 1934, the Federal Firearms Act of 1938, the Gun Control Act of 1968, the creation of the ATF in 1972, the Law Enforcement Act Protection Act of 1986, the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1990, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1994, the Assault Weapon Ban of 1994, and the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 were all federal laws designed to restrict the ownership of specific firearm categories, restrict ownership in general, or make us “more safe.” Of course, state laws have also been implemented as a compromise. The permit process in many states includes high fees, required training, multi-page applications, interviews with officers, interviews with law enforcement administrators, officers visiting your neighbors, yearly reviews, and finger printing in booking rooms among other requirements.
Why a semi-automatic rifle a good choice for home defense…
Here is a list of valid reasons, in no particular order.
- You can mount a light, red dot sight and/or a laser to the rifle to make it easy to used and aim during the day or night.
- They have a reasonable recoil, making the gun – for many users – easier to shoot as compared to a defense-caliber shotgun or pistol.
- 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).
- 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.
- A rifle is much more capable of stopping a threat as compared to a pistol.
- Semi-automatic rifles are more accurate than a pistol or shotgun.
- Ammunition is (normally) readily available and (normally) priced within reason. Present time excluded.
- You can buy high-capacity magazines for many semi-automatic rifles. In a self-defense situation, you want to avoid manipulating the weapon 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 weapon 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.
Update: Since this post is getting a fair number of visitors, I want to point out I did not state select-fire rifles set to full auto is one of the reasons it’s a good choice for home defense. Many people who have commented completely ignored my list of compromises gun owners have made since the late 1930s. My point is .. that’s enough.
Update 2: Yes, I realize law enforcement – as compared to the regular military – are civilians. Even if they work for ICE, DEA, Border Patrol or ATF, they are civilians … it’s just a way for me to identify the difference. I guess I could have used “regular people” instead of “civilians,” but LEOs are regular people too.