By now, we’ve heard the argument about semi-automatic "assault" rifles: nobody needs one. We’ve heard the only reason why someone would obtain this kind of weapon is so they can kill people, which is far from the truth. We’ve also heard the argument from both the Left and the Right that a pistol is how someone protects their home.
"I really don’t know why people need assault weapons. I’m not a hunter but I understand people who want to hunt," Republican Rep. Peter King said on Morning Joe earlier this week. "I understand people who live in rough neighborhoods or have a small business and want to maintain a pistol to protect themselves as long as they’re properly vetted and licensed. But an assault weapon? "
While the use of pistols in the home are helpful, they’re not the best weapons to use when it comes to protecting property. This is why people need a semi-automatic rifle which yes, can come in the form of an AR-15.
Let’s go back in history for a moment. While everyday life in America compared to the rest of the world is pretty darn easy and relatively safe, the reality is things can change overnight, regardless of whether you live in a decent neighborhood. Take for example the Los Angeles riots in 1992, when business owners were forced to defend their property from angry mobs causing severe chaos: $1 billion in property damage, 50 dead, 4,000 injured, 3,000 fires set and 1,100 buildings damaged. In this case, a handheld pistol was in no way sufficient, but semi-automatic rifles were.
Business owners in LA’s Koreatown knew what was coming their way, so they armed themselves with shotguns and semi-automatic rifles in order to defend their property. They stood on their rooftops as they watched black smoke pour down the street. The cops weren't there to help them.
“One of our security guards was killed,” Kee Whan Ha told NPR in April 2012, 20 years after the riots took place. "I didn't see any police patrol car whatsoever. It's a wide open area. It was like the Wild West in the old days, there was nothing there, we were the only ones left."
Business owner Richard Rhee felt the same way and told the Los Angeles Times, "Burn this down after 33 years?... They don't know how hard I've worked. This is my market and I'm going to protect it."
“Assault weapons” saved Koreatown and it’s fair to say the people holding them saved the lives of many that day.
Then of course, there was the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. New Orleans became a place of complete anarchy in a matter of hours. In addition to property owners being forced to stave off mobs of people roaming for food, water and shelter to survive as the government failed to provide emergency services, they had to protect themselves against dangerous looters. But not only were New Orleans residents forced to defend themselves against immediate threats to their person and property, residents also had to protect themselves from the government.
As the water started to recede, leaving New Orleans a chaotic wasteland, police officers began going door to door confiscating weapons. Who did they take them from? Mostly poor black residents in New Orleans' 9th Ward.
The New York Times reported in September 2005, “No civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to carry pistols, shotguns or other firearms.” The paper pointed out that rich residents and business were allowed to hire hundreds of security guards with firearms to protect them. Sadly, the poor in New Orleans didn’t have the same luxury.
Superintendent of police at the time P. Edwin Compass III said, “Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons.”
What happened days before weapons confiscation was tyranny of the worst kind. Henry Glover, a 31-year-old black man was shot and killed by New Orlean’s police officers. They also burned his body.
A New Orleans police officer was laughing after he burned the body of a man who had been gunned down by police in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, a fellow officer testified Thursday.
The testimony came during the trial of officer Greg McRae and Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann, who are charged with burning the body of 31-year-old Henry Glover in a car after he was shot and killed by a different officer outside a strip mall on Sept. 2, 2005. Three other current and former officers also are charged in Glover's death.
A former officer, David Warren, is charged with shooting Glover. Prosecutors say Glover wasn't armed and didn't pose a threat to Warren.
Scheuermann and McRae are accused of beating people who drove Glover to a makeshift police headquarters in search of help. The three men were handcuffed when the officers drove off with the car containing Glover's body.
Former Lt. Robert Italiano and Lt. Travis McCabe are accused of falsifying a report to make it appear Glover's shooting was justified.
When politicians and gun grabbers tell us we “don’t need” semi-automatic, "assault," or "military style" weapons, they don’t know what they’re talking about.