Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) wants people to believe that the most popular rifle platform in the United States — the AR-15 or modern sporting rifle — is only good for shooting innocent people quickly, but not good for shooting game in the wild or protecting one’s home.
In a tweet promoting a recent anti-gun op-ed that she wrote together with fellow gun control advocate Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) for Time, Feinstein said that “Guns like the AR-15 aren’t used for hunting and they’re not viable for home protection. They have only one purpose: fire as many rounds as possible, as quickly as possible.”
This is a false claim both in terms of hunting and home defense.
There are several documented cases of law-abiding citizens using a modern sporting rifle to defend themselves and their families. A Townhall op-ed from columnist Scott Morefield has a list of 9 such incidents, just for starters. And despite what opponents of the rifle platform may say about it, the gun is actually very well-suited to home defense due to its lighter weight, lower recoil, and modularity that allows for things like enhanced optics.
And yes, the modern sporting rifle can hunt, too. A 2016 story from Time described the various kinds of game some hunters shoot with the AR-15 platform. And as the diversity of ammunition that can be used in the platform has increased, so have the different kinds of game that can be successfully hunted with it. In fact, a lot of hunters have already made the switch from a traditional rifle to a more modular platform.
Also, a man with an AR-15 in 2018 saved a teenage girl from an alligator that had her stuck in a tree, which counts as both hunting and lawful protection of human life, albeit outside the home.
It’s also worth noting that in the op-ed and in the Time news article, both the senators and the magazine used the term “assault rifle” instead of “assault weapon,” when referring to the gun used in the Poway Synagogue shooting, which is a factual inaccuracy, per AP style. The gun used in the Poway shooting had no automatic fire option.
This anti-gun talking point was out of touch with the facts.