Why does anyone need a high capacity semi-automatic firearm?
I write instruction guides on defense and security for the average, everyday Joe Nobody. My readers are typically law abiding, peaceful folks who believe in self-reliance – a lifestyle and mindset more closely resembling that of our pioneering forbearers than anything remotely political or radical. In addition, I have taught countless hundreds of people from all walks of life the proper usage of a firearm for their specific need. I always recommend a rifle, such as the AR15, for home defense over a handgun. My reasoning for this recommendation is based on experience, logic and cold, hard facts.
Like most of you, I’ve watched the ongoing debate over gun control with a keen eye. In some aspects, I’m proud of the discussion – a clear indication of a republic at work. While the ebb and flow of arguments and political counterpoints has fueled considerable frustration from my perspective, one single question conspicuously repeats, apparently the fulcrum of the issue:
“Why does anyone need a high capacity semi-automatic firearm?”
In my writings, I recommend such a weapon for home and ranch defense for several reasons. The primary justification for any high capacity firearm (a lot of bullets in the magazine) being the proven inaccuracy of someone under life-threatening stress.
To understand what I mean, you need look no further than statistics for the New York City Police Department. According to data published in the New York Times (hardly a mouthpiece for the NRA), the well-trained, professional police officers in the nation’s largest city only hit their target with 1 out of every 5 shots fired in anger (or fear) – a ten year average of 18%.
That’s right, 1 of 5 for alert, on-duty, capable lawmen, and 77% of those shots occurred when no one was shooting back. What type of accuracy can a sleepy, poorly trained Joe Nobody expect when awakened in the middle of the night and scared to death for his family’s safety? How will Joe’s accuracy be affected when one of those intruders returns fire? How many rounds does the average citizen need when being confronted by 2 or 3 intruders? I guess we all should learn to re-load those 10 round “clips” quickly.
The accuracy equation is compounded by stopping power. Have you ever heard the phrase “double tap?” It originated from the British Special Air Services, one of the most elite Special Forces units in the world. You see, our cousins from across the pond found that their 9mm weapons often failed to disable the average bad guy with a single shot. They learned this lesson the hard way, and thus adapted their training to fire twice in quick succession. What many people don’t realize is that handguns commonly don’t stop a threat with a single shot. A frightened homeowner has a far better chance of successfully defending his family with a rifle – one that has a lot of bullets.
Even if you aren’t worried about stopping an attacker, there are still a lot of very valid reasons for owning a high capacity weapon.
I’m unsure what the farmers in rural NY are going to do when the feral hog epidemic finally reaches their state. According to Mississippi State University, these pests already inflict 1.6 billion dollars’ worth of damage to farms, ranches, forests and parks annually. They are spreading rapidly. In the south, we’ve been fighting them for years, mostly with high capacity magazines in military style weapons – and we’re losing the war. Wild pigs aren’t like deer – you don’t just shoot one for sport. These aren’t cute little potbellied porkers released into the wild. We are talking about swine that are extremely aggressive, can weigh north of 150 pounds, and sport razor-sharp, bacteria-infested tusks. You have to eradicate the entire herd (normally 10-20 animals), which requires a lot of bullets. They scatter at the first shot, and adults can run with a horse. Most feral herds I’ve seen would snicker at seven rounds.
Both sides of this debate should also consider the tens of thousands of private professionals who play a vital role in the security of our great nation. These folks aren’t police officers or associated with any government agency. Yet they guard nuclear facilities, federal institutions and even parts of the United Nations. I guess in New York they’ll be restricted to carrying a 6-shot revolver? You know, extremists watch cable news, too. And you can bet that your average terrorist already knows security at nuclear power plants is private, and with the new legislation, they can’t have more than seven rounds in their weapons. It wouldn’t surprise me if some enterprising lunatic just established the nuclear power plants operating in the state of NY as a higher priority on his target list.
What about the tens of thousands of private military contractors who serve our country? These professionals work for the Department of Defense, Department of State and dozens of other federal agencies. The incident at Benghazi, Libya has been in the headlines lately. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans lost their lives in a terrorist attack there on September 11, 2012. Two of the four men killed that day were private military contractors. During 2012, more private contractors were killed in Afghanistan than U.S. military personnel.
These patriotic Americans are typically required to purchase their own individual weapons and are responsible for their own training. They hold no law enforcement license – they are just private Joes who happen to carry a rifle for a living. They work in some of the most dangerous places on earth, faraway lands where our government and corporations need them. They must own and use high capacity weapons in order to train for their job. I, for one, appreciate their help as more of our sons and daughters serving in the military would be at risk if not for these individuals.
Speaking of education, I need to point out the vast firearms training infrastructure that exists in the United States. Hundreds of private facilities, employing thousands of professional instructors, train and educate our military and law enforcement personnel every day. The average person probably isn’t aware of these institutions because they rarely have accidents or generate newsworthy events.
These private businesses train police departments, domestic and foreign military, and even employees of federal agencies. It will come as surprise to many, but the U.S. military doesn’t have the budget or facilities to train all of our troops. The Pentagon contracts out some of this work to private firms, such as Gunsight in Arizona, CSAT in Texas, or ACADEMI in North Carolina. The list could go on and on.
Unless you live in a major metropolitan area, chances are your local law enforcement officers were trained at a similar private facility. A small town or rural county can’t afford its own dedicated location and instructors – they save your tax money by using private enterprise. When we call 911, we expect a well-trained, competent professional to answer the call. No one wants Barney Fife rolling up, nervously trying to pull a single bullet from his breast pocket. These instructors are often required to own and maintain their own firearms and skills. Don't we all want the very best for our first responders?
So when someone makes the statement, “There’s no good reason why anyone needs a high capacity, semi-automatic firearm,” they are simply wrong.
Joe Nobody is the best-selling author of several books addressing self-reliance and defense. In addition to his popular instruction guides, the fiction series Holding Their Own is a favorite among preppers. You can find all of Joe’s works on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ITunes and other outlets, or visit www.holdingyourground.com.