In the ongoing debate over gun control you often hear statements like “no one really needs an AK-47 or an AR-15” (these are usually mislabeled “assault weapons”) or “no one needs a 30-round magazine.” So, what guns do I really need?
Since many people, if not most, buy guns for self-defense, I think it is instructive to ask what guns are needed by those who are charged with defending us. At the national level we have our military, and they think they need weapons like fighter jets and nuclear bombs. I agree. At the local level, our defenders are police and security guards. Hardly anyone would claim that they need fighter jets or nuclear bombs.
The military think they need tanks and howitzers. I agree. Do police need these weapons? I say no. But our police forces in recent years have become militarized, and there are some police forces who own these types of weapons. This is an alarming trend because, while the mission of the military is often to “kill people and break things,” the role of the police is to “serve and protect.”
To further this analysis, I like to revive the saying that clarifies why I need defensive weapons: “when seconds count, the police are often only minutes away.” Therefore, I would argue that a good way to answer the question of what guns I need is to ask what guns the police need so that I can successfully defend myself until they arrive. I have established the fact that police do not need nuclear weapons or tanks.
What about grenade launchers or fully automatic weapons?
Again, given the mission of the police, I would argue that they do not need these weapons. Therefore, neither do I. What about handguns? It seems obvious to me that both police and security guards need these types of weapons. Therefore, so do I. But I cannot imagine why they would need 30-round magazines for these weapons. Therefore, neither do I.
Finally, we get to the toughest question. Do police need AR-15s? In the past, a few selected long guns for sniper kinds of activities and shotguns for closer range incidents were adequate. It seems to me that is still the case. Also, while I can certainly see the need for large capacity magazines for military soldiers, I cannot see that same need for police.
Therefore, I must conclude that people who purchase weapons for self-defense “need” weapons like handguns, shotguns, and rifles, but not AR-15s or large capacity magazines (or fighter jets or nuclear bombs or tanks or howitzers or grenade launchers).
I hope my comments finally clarify this issue so there will not be a need for further debate.