Is The AR-15 A ‘Weapon Of War?”

BY Herschel Smith
8 months, 3 weeks ago

Joe Scarorough:

As a longtime gun owner and supporter of the Second Amendment, I agreed with the Supreme Court’s “Heller” holding that concluded Americans had the right to keep and bear arms. But that constitutional protection did not, and will not, extend to guns designed as weapons of war.

One should expect such things from a mindless dolt like Scarborough, but we should be able to expect better from people who should know better.  Apparently, it has become all the rage to throw around a few gun words and argue that the AR-15 isn’t a weapon of war, and thus it is protected under the 2nd amendment.

This means that in both the ammunition it fires and the rate at which it fires, the AR-15 is more akin to the famous Ruger Mini14 ranch rifle than the M4 carbine, which is what’s been putting rounds downrange for the Department of Defense since 1994. No AR-15 marketed for civilian use is an automatic rifle.

If you want to legally purchase an automatic firearm made before 1986, there are a ton of prohibitive bureaucratic hoops you have to jump through (plus, they’re incredibly expensive because of the 1986 ban). If you want to buy one made after 1986, you either need to be a law enforcement officer with a reason to have it or a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL).

[ … ]

The fact that so many prominent anti-gun people think that the modern sporting rifle available to civilian purchasers today is a weapon that is used or even proposed for use in combat just shows how little they understand about guns. And if you’re going to try to ban something or criminalize people’s legally purchased property, you’d better at least have your facts straight about it.

Yea, and I believe allegedly pro-gun people should get their facts straight too.

We’ve discussed this before, but it bears repeating.  Every weapon is a weapon of war.  That is it’s purpose.  The U.S. Marines used shotguns to clear rooms in Now Zad, Afghanistan.  Carlos Hathcock used a Winchester Model 70 30-06 rifle for his kills in Vietnam, at least most of them.  That tradition carried through to the early stages of OIF, where Marines were still using bolt action Winchester Model 70s.

Virtually every sniper rifle today is a bolt action rifle, and even the DM (designated marksman) rifles aren’t fully automatic.  That wouldn’t benefit the DM.  My own son, while running the SAW in Iraq, conducted room clearing in Fallujah with an M4, and he informed me that they never had their rifles in full-auto mode of fire (3-round burst).  Semi-automatic firearms are weapons of war.  It’s nonsense to argue that since an AR-15 isn’t fully automatic it isn’t a weapon of war.

Revolvers were used in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and in fact even in Vietnam (for chasing tunnel rats).  The venerable 1911 – which I prefer over any other pistol – doesn’t have a high capacity magazine, and yet it was a weapon of war, and is still on the battlefield today.  Knives are weapons of war, and my son carried one with him all the time in Iraq.

Bows and arrows were weapons of war, as were crossbows.  Before that, sticks and rocks were weapons of war.  In short, every weapon ever invented or used by mankind for any purpose whatsoever has been a weapon of war, and may continue to be so to this very day.

The strategy to frame our right to ownership of weapons in hunting and target shooting is a tip of the hat to the “sporting purposes test,” an acquiescence to the abomination of the Gun Control Act of 1968.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with the second amendment, any more than personal self defense has anything to do with what the framers of the constitution wrote or intended.

The second amendment pertains exclusively to the amelioration of tyranny.  The second amendment assures weapons of war will be available in order to enable the citizenry to fight warfare.  As to the real basis for our right to ownership of weapons, one need only to ponder what God thinks about gun control.

The Bible does contain a few direct references to weapons control. There were many times throughout Israel’s history that it rebelled against God (in fact, it happened all the time). To mock His people back into submission to His Law, the Lord would often use wicked neighbors to punish Israel’s rebellion. Most notable were the Philistines and the Babylonians. 1 Samuel 13:19-22 relates the story: “Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!” So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plowshares, mattocks, axes, and sickles sharpened…So on the day of battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in this hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.” Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon also removed all of the craftsmen from Israel during the Babylonian captivity (2 Kings 24:14). Both of these administrations were considered exceedingly wicked including their acts of weapons control.

Stop worrying over whether an AR-15 is a “weapon of war.”  Every weapon is a weapon of war, and God says we have a right to them.  When you argue in such a way, you cede ground to the enemy because you assume the validity and truthfulness of his value judgments, definitions and categories.


  1. On March 20, 2019 at 12:22 am, BRVTVS said:

    Arguing that a gun is not a weapon of war weakens our legal position in the courts. See

  2. On March 20, 2019 at 7:11 am, Bram said:

    I agree. It’s a silly stupid argument. Bows, slings, darts, hammers, axes, sticks and stones were all once “weapons of war.” All could still be used to end lives.

  3. On March 20, 2019 at 7:36 am, Pat Hines said:

    “Yea, and I believe allegedly pro-gun people should get their facts straight too.” As was said in the early days of this republic, “every terrible weapon of the soldier” is to be available to every able bodied man.

    I’ve run out of patience with people who continually make the claim that “an AR-15” isn’t an assault rifle because it’s not select fire. Screw that difference for the same reason AND that it does not matter to the anti-self defense communists and that all weapons are covered by the Second Amendment. I also have no patience for people that assert only weapons that can be carried by one soldier are covered by the Second Amendment.

    As soon as some sort of limiting language is made up out of whole cloth, language that does NOT appear in the Second Amendment, they have handed the knife to our mortal enemies which will be placed deep into our backs.

    I’m not having any of that and neither should anyone else.

  4. On March 20, 2019 at 7:59 am, ragman said:

    I’ve found that the best course of action is to simply not talk to the communists. If I get tricked and find myself in a conversation with one and it leads to the Second, I state that “all gun control laws are unconstitutional”. That usually shuts ’em up. What I never do is get specific about what I might or might not possess. The proliferation of the illegal “Red Flag” laws necessitates silence except among a trusted few.

  5. On March 20, 2019 at 10:21 am, Geoff said:

    Even the Government says the AR15 is not a weapon of war.

  6. On March 20, 2019 at 10:43 am, Bob Y. Uncle said:

    First, they say my AR is a weapon of war, then they say my AR would be ineffective in a war against a modern army with tanks and drones!

  7. On March 20, 2019 at 10:52 am, revjen45 said:

    I would argue the semi auto lookalikes are specifically protected as militia relevant under Miller because they DO have para military design and application.

  8. On March 20, 2019 at 11:25 am, MTHead said:

    ” If you want to buy one made after 1986, you either need to be a law enforcement officer with a reason to have it or a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL).”
    Wrong, officers are not allowed to buy full auto’s. only police departments. Class III FFL’s are not allowed to purchase full autos without a letterhead from a police dept. asking for a particular weapon to be demonstrated to them. If they do not purchase it from the FFL, it can be retained by the FFL for the life of the business. At which time it can be, sold to another class III or police dept., destroyed, or returned to manufacturer.
    General George Patton called the semi-auto, 8 rnd. magazine, M1 garand , “the greatest battle rifle ever made.” (I think he would know).
    And, I’ve never understood “Miller”. If the only weapons covered by the 2A are weapons of war, why is the BATFEFU and congress trying to band them?

  9. On March 20, 2019 at 11:32 am, Bob Y. Uncle said:

    The Miller decision was and is a joke. Complete hypocrisy. NFA is UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!
    NFA needs to be retried at SCOTUS!

  10. On March 20, 2019 at 11:48 am, billrla said:

    “Weapons of war” is a linguistic construct being thrown-around by leftists (e.g., Liz Warren, aka Chief Spreading Bull, in a recent Mississippi-CNN “Town Hall” appearance) to advance their anti-gun agenda.

    “Weapons of war” comes right out of the New World Order – United Nations playbook. Do not fall for this ploy.

  11. On March 20, 2019 at 1:30 pm, Geoff said:

    @ MTHead (no comment on that)
    Also what ticks me off is all these YouTube videos of guys shooting off a brand spanking new machine gun they built just because they have a FFL07 and a SOT2 and they know damn well they’re just pissing off us common gun owners because WE CAN’T BUY ONE. Yet they get to keep them. Even if was post sample and the Military and Law Enforcement don’t want one.

  12. On March 20, 2019 at 7:16 pm, The Wretched Dog said:

    The entire argument that the “AR-15” must be banned because it is a “weapon of war” vs. “no it’s not; it is only semi-auto” is disingenuous and beside the point.

    The 2nd protects weapons of war, period.

    All weapons are weapons of war. See MV’s “What Good is a Pistol against an Army?”

    In the Colonial & Federalist eras there was no prohibition, none, on private ownership of cannon. It is protected in the Constitution – see the “Letters of Marque” provision. Congress had the constitutionally delegated authority to issue letters of marque, to unleash privateers – armed, private vessels – to attack British or French or Dutch shipping in the naval service of the united States. But while Congress issued the letters of marque (authority to act), Congress did not arm said private ships, Congress did not provide cannon, nor did Congress regulate how privateers acquired cannon.

    See also the Texican War of Independence. That fat little cannon on the white flag was community (privately) owned, not “government” approved.

    The Natural Right to Arms is not limited, in any way, by government.

    Do not fall for half-truths, or half-measures.


  13. On March 20, 2019 at 7:21 pm, Gryphon said:

    I like telling libtards who want to “Ban Assault Rifles” that if (((they))) Ban common Semi-Auto Firearms, there is No Reason for People like Me NOT to Convert our Semi’s to “Selective fire” or Build them from Scratch. Then watch their heads Explode, same as with pointing out that the Plain Language of “Shall Not Be Infringed” automatically NULLIFIES any and All ‘laws’ about Guns or any other Weapons.

  14. On March 20, 2019 at 7:23 pm, The Wretched Dog said:

    For a great read on “The Most Successful American Privateer” – see


  15. On March 20, 2019 at 7:43 pm, Saint Mike said:

    Unfortunately it’s just another phrase they use to scare people because people react to it.

    “Weapon of war”, “protect the children”, “make streets safe”, “common sense gun laws” are just tools they are using to achieve their ultimate goal of total disarmament and gun confiscation.

    It’s coming and it will mean war. The right to bear arms is a God given right. Period. No exceptions.

  16. On March 20, 2019 at 9:56 pm, Longbow said:

    Revjen45 is precisely correct.

  17. On March 20, 2019 at 11:40 pm, Fergus said:

    Every weapon is a weapon of war, even a stone. However no military employs the AR-15 as a principle arm. Nor do they employ pistols, shotguns, bows and arrows as their main armaments. Our founding fathers put the 2nd in place not for target shooting, squirrel hunting, or collecting but as a means of defense and as a last resort to a government that was unresponsive and despotic.

  18. On March 21, 2019 at 12:43 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    @ Herschel

    Re: “Carlos Hathcock used a Winchester Model 70 30-06 rifle for his kills in Vietnam, at least most of them. That tradition carried through to the early stages of OIF, where Marines were still using bolt action Winchester Model 70s.”

    At the risk of being accused of being pedantic, recall that the Marine Corps adopted the Remington 700 chambered in 7.62×51 NATO, as their standard sniper weapon, beginning in 1966. Designated the M40, the original Remington 700s sent to Vietnam were wooden-stocked, and had been worked over and accurized by Marine armorers at Marine Corps Base – Quantico in Virginia.

    Because of changes made to the design and manufacturing processes for the Winchester Model 70 in the mid-1960s by executives at Winchester Repeating Arms, to help WRA compete with more-economic designs in the civilian hunting market, the Corps switched to the Remington 700.

    According to his biography, Hathcock was equipped with a Winchester M70 30-06 for the first part of his tour in-country as a scout-sniper, but adopted the Remington 700 (M40) for part of the latter half of this period. Details are somewhat sketchy concerning how much he used the new rifle or how he regarded the design in comparison with the older M70 30-06. Given his stature in the Corps and his success at the mission, he was probably given considerable latitude in how he equipped himself.

    Marine Corps doctrine was that scout-snipers worked in a team with a spotter, who was also responsible for flank/rear security, working the radio, and documenting the team’s combat “kills,” as well as much of the work involved in scouting the target and determining the range, wind, and other variables. Snipers were armed with bolt-actions, plus whatever secondary weapons they preferred (pistols, SMGs, knives, grenades, etc.),whereas the spotter was armed with an iron-sighted M-14. Some teams elected to carry Claymore mines; if so the spotter was usually the one lugging them as well as additional ammunition.

    In contrast, Army snipers were permitted to work alone, without the benefit of a spotter, and were also permitted to use select-fire scoped M-14 rifles as their primary weapons. The top-scoring American sniper of the war, U.S. Army Sergeant Adelbert Waldron, was so equipped. Waldron made a considerable number of his combat kills at night, using a star-light scope atop his rifle. He also saw significant action in the Mekong Delta attached to the so-called “Brown Water Navy,” i.e., the riverine patrol craft assigned to the area.

    Re: Sporting use canard

    Many modern folks – especially those in favor of regulating firearms and other weapons – like to try and frame the debate over firearms ownership as being one of “reasonable” uses such as for sports such as hunting, skeet shooting and target shooting. Much is also made of self-defense use; this is one of the favorite rhetoric devices of the NRA. Their monthly magazine even features a column devoted to “the armed citizen” who uses his firearm to defend his home, family or self from harm at the hands of criminals.

    While it is doubtlessly truth that the Founders would have approved of these uses – none of them is mentioned in the U.S. Constitution or the Bill of Rights. Nor are they mentioned in such a context in the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers.

    The Founders viewed the Second Amendment and the private ownership of firearms as a fail-safe against tyranny. They viewed the ownership of arms as an inherent right, one God-given and not subject to the whims of government. The Second Amendment did not confer these rights; it merely codified a right that the people themselves already possessed.

    A number of parts of this line of thought cause extreme discomfort amongst the modern statists. Many of them view the state’s monopoly on the use of violence (force) as sacrosanct, and regard any threat to that status quo, real or imagined, with hostility.

    Second, many of these same statists are secular if not outright atheistic. Third, one of the most-powerful tools any government may possess is the ability to grant favors or withhold them, as circumstances dictate.

    Inherent rights and liberties are at-odds with the expansion of government power, since they reserve to the people themselves rights, prerogatives and liberties which the denizens of big government would rather keep to themselves. The whole racket of licensure, permits, grants, decrees and other revenue-generating tools becomes much less-effective if the government doesn’t have the power to grant/withhold favors and “privileges” – such as the “right” to drive a car or own a firearm.

    Advocates of liberty, on the other hand, are fully aware that if one has to go to big-government or some other authority and say “Mommy may I…?” prior to doing something, then one is not exercising a right at all, but a privilege. And the state can grant/withhold these as it sees fit.

    Perhaps the most-troublesome aspect of the inherent rights implied by the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights is the sort of nation and society that it suggests – one in which people are free to live their lives in ordered liberty, unburdened by the heavy hand of a central government upon them in their daily lives. If you are a would-be government functionary or bureaucrat on the make, that sort of society simply does not offer enough opportunities for graft and the peddling of influence.

    It is germane to note that the ubiquitous presence of local, state and federal government (and their functionaries) in our lives is a relatively recent phenomenon. As recently as the 1960s, many Americans had very little contact with the federal government in their lives. Apart from the U.S. Postal Service and paying income taxes once a year, that was about it. And prior to the GCA of 1968, one could purchase a firearm via mail-order out of the back of a boy’s comic or hunting magazine without any kind of license or permit whatsoever.

  19. On March 21, 2019 at 6:08 pm, 2aguy said:

    Justice Scalia in his opinion in Friedman v Highland Park, states that the AR-15 rifle is protected by the 2nd Amendment. This is his dissent, because the court didn’t take the case, and he thought they should have taken the case, but he specifically names the AR-15 rifle as being protected. This is after the Heller decision, so what he states here carries actual weight.

    From Scalia in Friedman…

    That analysis misreads Heller. The question under Heller is not whether citizens have adequate alternatives available for self-defense.

    Rather, Heller asks whether the law bans types of firearms commonly used for a lawful purpose—regardless of whether alternatives exist. 554 U. S., at 627–629. And Heller draws a distinction between such firearms and weapons specially adapted to unlawful uses and not in common use, such as sawed-off shotguns. Id., at 624–625.

    The City’s ban is thus highly suspect because it broadly prohibits common semiautomatic firearms used for lawful purposes.

    Roughly five million Americans own AR-style semiautomatic rifles. See 784 F. 3d, at 415, n. 3. The overwhelming majority of citizens who own and use such rifles do so for lawful purposes, including self-defense and target shooting. See ibid. Under our precedents, that is all that is needed for citizens to have a right under the Second Amendment to keep such weapons. See McDonald, 561 U. S., at 767–768; Heller, supra, at 628–629.

  20. On March 22, 2019 at 5:53 am, Todd said:

    Lost me at the beginning – why do these controllers always talk of court rulings but can not be bothered to understand the constitution? Are they so ignorant they can’t grasp the truth of the bill of rights and slavishly depend on black robes government employees to tell them what it means?

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You are currently reading "Is The AR-15 A ‘Weapon Of War?”", entry #20783 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) AR-15s,Firearms,Guns and was published March 19th, 2019 by Herschel Smith.

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