Columns Opinion

Yes, the AR-15 can be just as lethal as the M4

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For my first column of this school year, I discussed the need for gun control based on the continuous violence in the U.S. involving many things — including the easy access to firearms.

I did not call for a ban on guns like the popular AR-15 rifle. I certainly didn’t aim to propose a way to completely end gun violence. My intention was to show that even a guy that has been in the military and has loved guns since then understands the need for gun reform.

A better background check, safety mechanism and mental health evaluation are all I am asking for. This is not setting a precedent that will lead to a gun ban, or something impossible, to implement.

These are just a few ways we can try to prevent horrific acts like the Orlando shooting. The shooter in this incident used a Sig Sauer MCX, which is similar in style, but different in operation to the AR-15.

In my column, I also compared the M4 carbine rifle to the AR-15 which is easily purchased in stores like Academy and Cabela’s across Texas.

Well, this was the “smoking gun,” as they say. I seem to have crossed a line that borders on deceit and stupidity among my critics for making this “mistake.”

That’s right. The best argument against my proclamation that even a veteran can understand gun control was how I tried to make it seem like the AR-15 was basically the minigun touted by Schwarzenegger in “Terminator 2.”

The AR-15 is different from the M4 in one important category, that’s true. The rifle I used in Iraq not only had single fire, but also a three-round burst. That alone can make it much more lethal than a standard model. Now, with the implementation of the M4A1, starting a year after I left the military in 2013, soldiers have the option for fully automatic fire rate.

Despite what some may think, the customization of the AR-15 doesn’t stop at cool tactical flash lights and Leupold scopes. There are many ways to customize the functionality of the AR-15 and weapons like it — including making the rifle almost fully automatic.

Finding a trigger mechanism or even a buttstock that alters the rifle just enough to increase the fire rate is just a quick Google search and purchase away. You don’t even have to spend very much money as most these products are available for retail for under $400.

If a person doesn’t want to shell out that much money on something like that, they can easily purchase a drum that can carry tons of ammo and just continuously pull the trigger. Some people like to act as if we are still using flintlock rifles.

It’s a simple pull of the trigger. No pouring, measuring and praying.

Nidal Hassan used a semi-automatic pistol called the FN Five-seven. Throughout his rampage, he was able to kill 13 and wound 38 soldiers. Dylann Roof killed nine people with a 45-caliber Glock handgun because of a flaw in the background check performed during the purchase of his weapon.

Omar Mateen used a Sig Sauer MCX and a Glock 17, 9mm semi-automatic pistol and was still able to kill 49 people while injuring 53 others. He was able to purchase these weapons even when he had previously been on an FBI terror watch list.

When will the excuses stop? Yes, people are absolutely right. The M4 I used during my deployment has an important feature that the AR-15 does not, a three-round burst, but that doesn’t make it a water gun.

Let’s not take away access to these type of firearms to those who can legally obtain and responsibly own them. What we need is reform to try to keep all firearms away from people who might do others harm.

It’s time to start saving lives across the country.

Opinion columnist Frank Campos is a media production senior and can be reached at [email protected]


  • With the best of intentions, your article still makes the erroneous assumption that adding more laws will deter or prevent crime. It doesn’t. There is literally zero evidence to support this idea, and plenty to demonstrate that laws do not eliminate crime. Think of speed limits, the war on drugs, etc. To take your statement a step further, a .22 is just as lethal as an M4 also. The problem with what you are suggesting is you have allowed the government to decide who is fit to own a firearm. That is the problem. Why would you empower the one entity who has an interest in disarming the population with the ability to curtail or prevent ownership? Your heart is in the right place, but as tough a pill as it may be to swallow, gun violence is a symptom of larger societal ills, and no law in the world is going to solve those issues.

    • No evidence because the CDC can’t even study it. The reality is cleaning up the laws we have to get rid of all the loopholes etc would help along with new laws that address gun safety. Just common sense.

      • That is a LIE. CDC can not promote studies that ARE MEANT TO PROMOTE gun control.

        An Obama Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease
        Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence, along
        with 22 other “initiatives.” That study, subcontracted out to the Institute
        of Medicine and National Research Council, was completed in June and
        contained some surprises for the president.
        In addition, defensive use of guns “is a common occurrence,”
        according to the study:
        Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses
        by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals,
        with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than
        3 million per year, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes
        involving firearms in 2008.

        • Fine, if that is the BS you want to spout then 300 million Americans will be calling for the repeal of the 2nd. Just remember that when you repeat the garbage you have been fed.

          • Doesn’t fit what you want to hear, so now it is BS, even though it was done through the CDC, which you said it should go through. That’s nice.

            Not sure what you are rambling about 300 million Americans calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment. Are you saying when everyone hears they can defend themselves with a firearm, they will want them banned? You may enjoy being a professional victim (or perhaps you are a criminal, hoping the law-abiding are disarmed so your work is easier), but most don’t, and won’t if they can help it. As noticed by the study mentioned.

          • David, do you not understand the principle that this country was founded on? The “civil rights” in the Bill of Rights are not something government can or has “granted”. They are natural rights that existed before the US. The Constitution merely limits government from infringing on existing civil rights.

          • Except,,,..only 190,000 million are adults. And 44% own guns.

            Your 300 went poof.

            p.s. You might want to look at composite of the state legislatures and show me where 38 states will go along with you.

          • Repeal the 2A? Have fun. Article 5 of the Constitution. And, you probably aren’t aware, because it seems you believe the 2A somehow grants the right to arms. The 2A grants no rights. Nor is the right dependent upon the Constitution for it’s existence. The 2A simply states that Congress shall NOT interfere with that right to arms of the PEOPLE.

      • The CDC can study anything they want, including criminal violence. However, they can not use government money for propaganda to further the progressive liberal and KKK agenda. All gun control in the us comes from the desire to keep poor people (like former slaves) from being armed and full citizens.

        • “progressive liberal and KKK agenda”

          Say what? This might be news to you, but all chapters of the KKK across America have endorsed TRUMP for President.

          • Not sure if any candidate has control of the what the press claims as their endorsement. However, the KKK was and is a democratic organization that had as one of it’s prime goal to keep freed slaves from getting arms or protecting themselves.
            Just as one of the KKK leaders, Byrd, is quoted by Clinton has her “mentor”.

          • Let’s see. Who has the KKK backed in the past?

            Ben Carson
            Tea Party
            Hillary Clinton
            Republican Party
            Democrat Party

            And that is just a partial listing. Do you really thing anything or anyone the KKK endorses is because they really support them? No, it’s so ID10T people can have some reason to vote AGAINST the candidate most likely to support any program which could damage the KKK organization. You have been duped. Does that happen often?

          • LOL Well you are one EXTREMELY well propagandized little wonder aren’t ya? Go Google Hillary Clinton “Stars and bars” campaign buttons from 2008. THEN, get back to us with who they REALLY support! Clinton is a racist of long standing. She’s “proud to have been a Goldwater girl” and smiles remembering it and you aren’t bright enough to know WHY! Goldwater’s platform in 1964? Included REPEALING the Civil Rights Act and resegregating the nation!
            A little advice… EDUCATE YOURSELF, gullible rubes just like you elected Hitler!

      • The CDC did this study LONG after the nonexistent “ban” was imposed. It would certainly be refreshing if posters here decided to actually research what they spout, instead of merely mindlessly repeating the talking points.

        The key statement from the report:

        “The Task Force found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws or combinations of laws reviewed on violent outcomes.”

    • although “gun violence is a symptom of larger societal ills,” to give up on Law to keep order is a risky business as well. Unless Anarchy is what you’re advocating, I’d have to say i’d rather try to better our laws than to try to reach our goals privately or by other means.

      • Laws and police will never provide protection for individuals. Laws and police are designed as a “punishment” after the crime. The only individual that can actually stop a violent criminal action is someone who is involved from the start, namely the victim.

      • What part of UNENFORCED laws are as worthless as unused seat belts don’t you get? What part of NO laws will EVER BE entirely unflawed DON’T YOU GET?

    • I like your comment, however, one small correction. There is not such thing as “gun violence”. No gun ever has committed any violent act or crime. A gun is merely a tool. The issue is “criminal violence”. So, we all need to be careful to not get sucked into using such terms.
      Also, as a fact the FBI stats show that clubs (e.g. baseball bats and hammers), knives (kitchen and otherwise) and hands/feed kill many more every year than all long guns combined.

    • As his first episode of this leftist diatribe contained a BLATANT misstatement of fact that NO REAL military man would make I question BOTH his credibility AND thereby his “motive” for writing this garbage.

  • Let’s see, you start out with the AR15, but 2 of the examples you use are for semi-auto pistols.

    Hassan: Army officer with no criminal record

    Roof: He got it the gun because the FBI screwed up.

    Mateen: He had no criminal record, had EXTRA training, a psyche exam and worked for a DHS contractor. He was not on the terror watch list.

    I am curious as to what reforms you would propose that would have prevented these tragedies?

      • Probably not… as we don’t share your paranoia. The TRULY hilarious part of the stop clamoring for “gun control” from you leftists is that you hypocritically EXPECT US to TRUST the very police you ALSO claim ARE… UNTRUSTWORTHY! On ONE THING and ONE ONLY do we agree… Big Brother S NOT “our friend”

    • There is no statement claiming that all those who should not have a gun can be stopped with gun reform, only the hope and chance that they might be greatly reduced and in turn many lives saved. The policies to be enacted with gun reform would be extremely difficult to compose as the second amendment clearly protects us from infringment on our right to bear arms. However, we are not expected to know what the right laws are exactly, only to know that change needs to happen due to serious concerns with the current policies. We can only hope our request and vocalizaton of our concerns reach our law makers that a solution be proposed by those who know and are familar with the laws and their intricate ways.

      • These people did not just wake up one day a decide that today is a nice day to kill as many as possible. These killers planned for these events of months or years, so even if a BC would have delayed obtaining a gun by a few days or increased the price a bit (actually in places like Chicago, the street price for criminals to purchase guns are lower that the gun store price). Also, as we see in places like the UK when guns are harder to obtain, violent crime increases since there is much less reason for the criminal to fear someone resisting a robbery, mugging or rape. Being killed by a knife is not any less less murder than with a gun.
        And of course, when you get UBC for guns than are pressure cookers next? then Baseball bats?

      • Sorry BUT, many of us have learned THE HARD WAY, that “hope and CHANCE” are NOT a workable plan for survival. Further, UNENFORCED laws are as useless as unused seat belts.

    • Better take a look at the Roof case. There is no evidence that Roof had been a prohibited person for federal gun law purposes. We know he had been arrested once for unlawful possession of a controlled substance, but there is no record of a conviction or even the lodging of an indictment or criminal information* either of which is required to make one a prohibited person.

      It has been a long time since the Roof murders. If Roof had been convicted, or the subject of an indictment or information, anyone–the FBI, You, I, an investigative reported, an ambulance chaser–anyone- could have looked it up by now. No such record has been found, which is a strong indication that it does not exist. Not every arrest results in a conviction or even in the filing of an indictment. These is no evidence that the FBI screwed up in this case, or that more time would have made a difference,.

      Don’t let the Roof case con you into wanting to have the National INSTANT Records Check System be taken away from us and replaced with what the gun-grabbers have always wanted but could never get–an open-ended dilatory and expensive investigation. No, no. Instant it is and instant it must remain.

      * if you don’t know what a “criminal information” is, I recommend that you look that up before embarrassing yourself.

  • Hey Franky Boy … why don’t you try saving lives in Obama’s hometown of CHICAGO … BTW CBS Chicago reported 10 killed 57 wounded this past weekend. ThousandS, with an S … have been shoot in Chicago this year. And Franky, if you ever have to go to Chicago? Where your ACUs.

    Still waiting for a UH BODY COUNT since CHL guns allowed on campus. Evidently UH CHLer are too da*n responsible to go around shooting people … but the semester is still young.

    Franky … I have no doubt that you Franky … like Hillary … wants our guns out of our CHL or law abiding hands, and who cares about AR-15s and M4s, even a gun filled with blanks can be lethal in the right circumstances.

    The only way to begin to STOP any Radical Islam or crazy American shooter is to PROFILE. No all can be stopped, but the number can be greatly reduced.

    Hassan, Mateen, the San Bernandino, and other shooters have been ALLOWED by the Obama Regime to due to the loosen of policies that would have previously identified people before they committed their acts of violence. Homeland Security agencies are not allowed to review the potential terrorists social media, which is crazy. Obama and the Progressives are literally giving Terrorists an EQUAL OPPORTUNITY to KILL US, hoping to cause enough chaos so that we will all look to the Progressives and say “please take our guns.”

    Now Gays are ARMING UP which I fully support … I’m not gonna shoot any Gays … I might disagree with some with their in your face activism, but they are learning to that in those first few minutes of an active shooter situation, that the only one that you can count on for protection is yourself. Folks like Alex Colvin (I’m not sure what Disqus personality he is calling himself nowadays) think that the only people that should carry guns on campus are active shooters and campus police).

    These incremental GUN CONTROL pieces designed to put fear into us are having the opposite effect, and it makes the writers look … childish.

    • The author of this article was born and raised in Chicago. He knows first hand what you are referencing, lived it and survived it. What he is proposing would save lives in Chicago. The argument that the state of Texas has less gun control than the city of Chicago and manages to have less deaths due to gun violate cannot be directly correlated to the laws alone. I would propose you look at the values and upbringing of the two vastly diffent economic, social and cultural areas. Your proposals to profile reminds me a lot of the type of policies applied during the blind fear after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor leading to the internment of Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II. It’s disgusting. Your statement about waiting for body counts only shows your disconnect, cold and robotic response to this topic other people care so grievingly about, have bled and have been broken for. The author who you so pretentiously called, Frankie, is paying and has paid a very high price to protect your right to disrespect him so gravely. Good job exercising them.

        • Stats from the Texas DPS website. Conviction rate for Peace Officers, LTC holders and the general public.
          2011 Stats:
          General public = 362.47 per 100,000
          Peace Officer = 103 per 100,000
          LTC holder = 23.14 per 100,000
          Yup! Peace officers in TX have a 5x higher conviction rate than LTC holders! And that’s with LTC holders having additional laws they must follow above and beyond the others!
          Licensed Law abiding citizens ARE NOT the problem. Its the General public that are!
          It is not mathematically possible for LTC holders carrying in an area to increase crime

        • That is fairly evident. TTC provided the conviction rates of TX residents. Homicide numbers total for Chicago in 2014 are 15.1/100,000, with 411 total homicides, and a population of 2,722,389 residents.

          TX has a homicide rate in 2014 of 4.4/100,000, with 1,184 total homicides, and a population of 26,956,958.

          So, with 1/10 the population of TX, Chicago has a homicide rate over 500% higher.

          • Yawn. Houston’s homicide rate is 10.6 per 100,000 inhabitants. Its population is 2 million. Illinois’ population is 12 million, and its homicide rate is 5.1. See how it works?

      • “The author of this article was born and raised in Chicago?”

        Hmm Pancho? Wonder why you left the Progressive Utopia of Chicago? … where you “survived”.

        Alex Colvin left Florida because of his arrest. Why did the author leave Chicago … trouble with gangs? Or cops? Should I get the College Republicans to check your background?

        I know you think America’s past is evil, hence the internment of the Japanese Americans, but that was a different time. And there is no guarantee that it won’t happen again especially if a extraordinary incident happens where thousands or tens of thousands are killed by Radical Muslims.

        I laughed at your response to my inquiring about UH body counts. Obviously, being a Progressive Pancho, you are incapable of recognizing humor. And your not the only Veteran or Disabled Veteran on campus Pancho, join the Club. But as a Veteran, I’d put you in the line of Veterans for Kaepernick.

      • ” What he is proposing would save lives in Chicago.”
        What he is proposing is more roadblocks for the law abiding public, and would not affect criminals.
        Let’s say that the author is right, and more restrictions on gun purchasing were instituted – that is, more infringements on a protected right.
        What would the criminals who then couldn’t legally purchase a gun do? Exactly what those people do now – get them illegally. How does that help in the fight against gun crime? It doesn’t.

      • ” What he is proposing would save lives in Chicago.” since Chicago has excessive gun control laws already in place and each law only increases the violence. We have the facts that gun control only benefits two groups of people. The very right that are basically above the law and the criminals that prey on the innocents.
        I am sure that some (not all) of the people that pushed Prohibition had good intentions, however, do we really need to learn such lessons multiple times and create more organized crime?

      • EXCUSE ME SLICK.. but MANY of US posting here are REAL veterans and some of us have SERIOUS doubts concerning HIS CLAIM to BE a veteran THANK YOU! Especially when he doesn’t KNOW that the RIGHTS listed in the BOR are NOT “granted to us” by a benevolent government but ARE INALIENABLE RIGHTS that the Founding Fathers WHO FEARED EVEN THE GOVERNMENT THEY WERE FOUNDING, LISTED as OFF LIMITS to governmental limitations!
        This combat vet has killed, nearly been killed and watched good men die… so spare me your “patriotism” lecture!

  • The people who are enthusiasts that build and modify the AR platform with new stocks, triggers, sights etc. are NOT the ones who are the problem. Yes you can modify them to be more efficient and effective, but its the person behind the gun who ultimately makes it do what it does…that’s clear in the fact that some have used unmodified standard caliber Glocks to great effectiveness. Why is the discussion always about the AR-15? Because generally people don’t understand them and throwing out the term “assault rifle” sounds scary. If you want to put forward some ideas on HOW we will actually perform these “better background checks” or mental health evaluations that would be a positive thing.

      • Adam Lanza possessed a certificate for an NRA class. Does not mean he was an NRA member. And though I have seen a couple of posters assert such, all have failed to provide any evidence that he was an NRA member. Same thing with Holmes. No one has ever provided any evidence he was a member of the NRA.

        • It wouldn’t matter Brother the leftists, as you know, simple ignore any and ALL truth they don’t LIKE.
          Just like the leftist troll on “News for Everyone” (which SHOULD BE CALLED “News for Leftists” thanks to a mod who goes by “Haj” who banned me for TELLING a TROLING uneducated moron to GET an education regarding the 1st Amendment!)

  • May I speak frankly Frankie? So background checks do not work, so let us just keep doubling down? Someone who is on a murderous suicide mission does not care about any laws. How about access to trucks like in the French attack? You think just because you served (Thank you, and much respect for doing so.) that the gun banning politicians will respect your views because you are trying to “be reasonable”. They want all the guns banned. Smart gun mandates, regulate it to death, or price it out of most Americans abilities to pay. They do not care how it is done. Plus they have former military in their sights first. Be careful what you say at the VA, you might lose some of the rights you put your life on the line for. For your own good of course. “260,000 Vets Stripped of Their Gun Rights With a Single VA Gun Regulation”

    • I read those CLAIMS and then read the CRAP and reject the CLAIM as window dressing intended to add a tone of veracity to the propaganda.

  • Criminals everywhere are pro-background checks. It’s not like they are going to be bothered by one when getting their firearms. The only people burdened by them are those who can actually pass one.

    • And a plan for better gun usage and safety education for all citizens. A plan for the total elimination of “No Gun Zones”, We know that these actions would save lives, but “gun control” does not have saving lives as a goal.

  • As a Father and Infantry (Airborne) Veteran myself, I’m just going to politely disagree regarding more laws for the law abiding. You and your (as you say born again) Liberal friends have an enemy in me…and I wont be cooperating with you and your “friends” ever. You can thank Bloomberg and people like him. As i live in a state where background checks are now required for transfers of possession not just ownership and the result has been ZERO arrests and ZERO prosecutions and ZERO reduction in crime. You are just another in long line of people refusing to address criminality and its root causes. You put the dirty nasty in LEG. Your DD214 doesn’t make you a firearms expert and should doesn’t help you with knowledge about a codified inalienable right either

  • The title of the article is basically correct. It is the person behind the gun that makes it lethal. Give an experienced shooter an old m1 carbine and they would be far more effective than an inexperienced shooter with a fully auto m4. It’s all pretty irrelevant to the issue of gun control.

    Americans have the right to own extremely lethal weapons. This right has nothing to do with hunting or target shooting.

    “What we need is reform to try to keep all firearms away from people who might do others harm.”

    There has been no law proposed that can do this without either infringing on the rights of all gun owners or violating the powers given to the government under the Constitution. The word “might” in his wish is especially troublesome.

  • Duh! The AR-15 is the same thing as the M16/M4. Of course it can be just as lethal.

    For those that do not know, AR in AR-15 comes from ArmaLite, the company that designed the weapon. And setup as a defense contract company whose express purpose for existing was to design the military’s next generation standard infantry rifle to replace the M1 and M14 then in use.

    ArmaLite struggled with the AR-15 design and saw it rejected due to a variety of flaws. They next created the AR-10 and AR-18, of which the AR-18 “Widowmaker” was put into the competition. By now, ArmaLite had sold the rights to make the AR-15 to anyone who wanted. One of them was Colt, who made a few small changes to the design and ended up winning the US military contract.

    Course, as we all know in hindsight, the gun sucked and failed often in Vietnam. Seems Colt only made minimal effort in changing a few things but never fixed the most serious flaws in the weapon. Still, it was deemed better at the time and approved. The military regretted it for many years afterwards.

    Whatever happened to the AR-18? Sold by the tens of thousands to my Ireland and ended up in the hands of my IRA and the devil-inspired Protestant forces attempting to take all of Ireland from us.

    The AR-18, like the AR-15, was sold for a quick buck (isn’t money everyone’s God in the USA?) to anyone on the street where this weapons of war are still used to this day to kill civilians indiscriminately.

  • Well DUUUHHH!!! OF COURSE it’s “lethal” is pretty much any OTHER object including such things as a hammer, a golf club, baseball bat or even a silk scarf in trained hands. But, that isn’t the point of this “one more ASSUMPTIVE NONSENSE” article, the standard premise of which is banning gun ownership for the ILLUSION of safety and security. All of it based upon the FLAWED idea that EVERYONE lives in the same place under identically the same circumstances AND therefor has NO NEED of a gun. (Never mind the simple FACT that was included NOT in a “Bill of NEEDS” but rather a “BILL OF RIGHTS” AS WELL AS the FACT that we DON’T ALL live in the same place under the same circumstances. The Founding Fathers well realized that such would BE the case and that EVERYONE has the RIGHT to defend themselves and their families from the predatory dangers of this world to the very best of their ability to PERSONALLY DO SO, as law enforcement CANNOT be ever present. Those predatory dangers take many forms in a nation the size of ours, from the two legged variety to the four legged as well as those that slither and swim!
    The one thing that has ben made EXTREMEDLY clear in our inner cities is? That the restrictive gun laws in force THERE hamper ONLY the law abiding citizen and render them MORE likely to BE a victim. To say otherwise is to simply blindly ignore the FACTS.

  • From the article: “Dylann Roof killed nine people with a 45-caliber Glock handgun because of a flaw in the background check performed during the purchase of his

    Better take a closer look at the Roof case. There is no evidence that Roof
    had been a prohibited person for federal gun law purposes. We know he
    had been arrested once for unlawful possession of a controlled
    substance, but there is no record of a conviction or even the lodging
    of an indictment or criminal information* either of which is required to
    make one a prohibited person.

    Read the NYT article carefully. Neither the article nor the FBI are saying that there had been a disqualifying record. They are advancing the argument that having been once arrested for drugs makes one a current user for life, which as laughable.

    It has been a long time since the Roof murders. If Roof had been convicted, or the subject of an indictment or information, anyone–the FBI, You, I, an investigative
    reported, an ambulance chaser–anyone- could have looked it up by now.
    No such record has been found, which is a strong indication that it
    does not exist. Not every arrest results in a conviction or even in the
    filing of an indictment. These is no evidence that the FBI screwed up
    in this case, or that more time would have made a difference,.

    Don’t let the Roof case con you into wanting to have the National INSTANT
    Records Check System be taken away from us and replaced with what the
    gun-grabbers have always wanted but could never get–an open-ended
    dilatory and expensive investigation. No, no. Instant it is and instant it must remain.

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