Monday, March 18, 2019

2A expert Stephen Gutowski responds to Joe Scarborough on the history of the AR-15 and ‘weapons of war’

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough took to Twitter Sunday night to say he’s in favor of a ban on the AR-15 because it’s a “weapon of war” that “was far deadlier than the M-16 used in Vietnam”:
Those suggesting the AR-15 was NOT developed as a weapon of war should read up on history. The AR-15 was developed as a military weapon to replace the M-14. Eugene Stoner designed it to be lighter and more lethal than the M-14.
It was far deadlier than the M-16 used in Vietnam.
Here’s an article from 1981 explaining how the Pentagon’s failure to use the AR-15 in Vietnam cost American lives. The AR-15 was proven to be lighter & more lethal than the M-14 or M-16. It was designed exclusively by Eugene Stoner to kill people in war. 
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.
And now here’s 2nd Amendment expert with the many errors in Scarborough’s 3-tweet rant. For starters, the “AR-15 is not ‘far deadlier’ than the M-16 since they’re the same basic design”:

They use the same parts, Joe:
Other than certain parts of the trigger group, M-16 and AR-15 parts are interchangeable. Colt quite literally used older M-16 parts in the AR-15s they sold on the civilian market way back in 1963. Here's a good video on early AR-15s/M-16s: 
Gutowski calls the claim that the smaller round of the AR-15/M-16 makes it more dangerous “highly dubious”:
The AR-15, or really the original AR-10, was designed to be very light. The concept was to use aircraft-grade materials to produce a light rifle. The idea that the AR-15, chambered for a much smaller 22 caliber round, is more "lethal" than the 30 caliber M-14 is highly dubious.
In fact, the M-14's larger round was considered one of its main advantages over the AR-15/M-16 when they were initially tested by the Army. Lethality is something of a matter of opinion. It's just that the vast majority of people tend to believe the larger round is more lethal.
Scarborough wasn’t wrong about everything:
Scarborough is right that many historians believe the M-16, after its own problems that mostly stemmed from some bad logistical changes being made when it was first adopted, was a far superior combat rifle than the M-14 due mainly to its reduced weight and improved reliability.
But. . .
For some bizarre reason, though, he claims several times in his thread that the AR-15 is more deadly than the M-16 which is pretty bizarre since the AR-15 sold on the civilian market since 1963 is literally just a semi-automatic-only version of the M-16.
As for the AR-15 being a “weapon of war,” Gutowski says “this is also true for pretty much every kind of gun you can think of”:
It is true that the AR platform was originally designed by Eugene stoner with a military contract in mind. And it's true that a variant was eventually produced for military service (the M-16). This is also true for pretty much every kind of gun you can think of.
What guns will Scarborugh want to ban next?
Bolt action rifles, pump action shotguns, semi-automatic pistols, and revolvers have all been adopted by the US military and pretty much every military on the planet. Many designs popular on the civilian market today were originally designed for military contracts.
Because the list of potentially banned guns is going to be quite long if this is the criteria:
The 1911 is an example of this. The M1A is a semi-automatic-only variant of the M-14. The Remington 870, America's most popular pump-action shotgun, is used by the US military. Variants of the bolt-action Remington 700, a popular hunting rifle, is used by the military. An so on.
Over to you, Joe:

I would be interested to know what guns @JoeNBC owns because it's likely their basic design was created with a military contract in mind or they've been used by the military. I'd also be happy to calmly discuss this further with him. There is a lot of interesting history here.


  1. Wasn't the 2nd amendment's purpose to make sure citizens could have a weapon to protect against enemies, foreign or domestic and how is that possible with a muzzle-loader when our enemies have advanced weaponry? I pray the day never comes but if stuff hits the fan, i hope it hits people's fan who are for banning first. If our big brother would stop the false flags, we would not have any perceived threats. Sad how quick people are to give away their rights over scripted media and paid actors.

  2. Uhh...Thought everyone knew that the AR-15 was the civilian, semi-automatic version of the military, fully automatic M-16. Guess not. Hadn't heard of the AR-15 being used in Viet Nam or anywhere else for that matter by US forces or allies. Kinda like bringing a knife to a gun fight.

    Those who talk about banning guns are silly and hypocritical. They always talk about banning the guns of others, not for themselves. As if criminals cared about their bans.
    Seriously though, only two groups, historically, have not been allowed to have weapons, military or otherwise - slaves and prisoners. Or as Clint Eastwood's character said in the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: "You see, in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig. "