If the armed citizen wants to have a fighting chance against criminals who are armed with high capacity rifles and pistols, they also need effective weaponry. Just like the police did back in the 1990s and today.

When might an armed citizen be attacked under circumstances in which a modern semi-automatic rifle would be necessary for defense? Consider societal break down, as took place during the Los Angeles riots in 1992, and after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In each of these real life examples of societal breakdown in America, roving gangs of criminals looted stores and private homes throughout those cities. While protecting property is not generally considered a valid reason to use deadly force, the fact that the resident is present and armed with a modern semi-automatic rifle might just encourage looters to skip over that citizen’s home or business and take on easier pickings elsewhere. After all, the next easy target is just down the street.

I cannot forget the images of the Korean store owners protecting their businesses with highly visible, armed security during the Los Angeles riots. They were not just protecting property, but also protecting their lives and the lives of their family members. Each of those looters constituted a criminal committing a felony, and a violent person who will burgle and loot is also very likely capable of killing.

It is no secret that it is much easier to effectively shoot a semi-automatic rifle, such as an AR-15 or a Ruger Mini-14, compared to shooting a bolt action, lever action or pump action rifle or shotgun. As a firearms trainer, I have seen a dramatic shift away from armed citizens obtaining and using shotguns for home defense. They have replaced the shotgun with semi-automatic rifles that are simply easier to shoot.

In conclusion, I believe ownership, possession and use of modern semi-automatic rifles and pistols are necessary for the armed citizen in America. Individually, one is likely never to actually need the ability to fire 20-30 rounds in an encounter. But, if the need does ever arise, circumstances are so dire that having access to that weapon will be vitally important. It will likely be a lifesaver.

* Throughout this article, I use the term “modern semi-automatic rifle or pistol” to describe what others commonly call “assault weapons.” “Assault weapon” has become a pejorative used primarily by those who are pushing a political agenda to ban guns, and depending on their wishes, it can mean anything from a handgun, which holds more than seven rounds of ammunition (as in New York), to rifles with a detachable magazine that can hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. While I do understand that the term “assault weapon” is too broad to serve as an accurate descriptor, I use it in this article’s headline to grab the reader’s attention. If it offends, I apologize.

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