Good Guns, Bad Guns and the Evil Black AR-15

AR-15 Rifle - A Brief History & Historical Time Line
AR-15 Rifle

Canadian Shooting Sports Association

Etobicoke, ON -( For roughly 36 hours following the tragic Orlando murders, the mainstream media screamed: “We must ban the AR-15!

The media banshees wailed and screeched repeatedly until finally they could no longer hide from the facts. The FBI had identified the weapon used to kill 49 people at the Florida nightclub, and it was NOT the AR-15 they so desperately wanted banned.

But most media personalities continued to screech unabated, insisting that it didn’t matter that the AR-15 wasn’t used in THIS shooting; it is still evil and must be banned. This is typical nonsense from people more interested in manufacturing the news than reporting it.

Aside from being black and “looking menacing” to the media idiots that know nothing about this subject matter, what is the real truth here? Is the AR-15 more dangerous than other guns? And why, here in Canada, is the AR-15 classed as a restricted firearm when most other semi-automatic firearms are not?

In a recent interview with's Brian Lilley, Tony Bernardo, Executive Director of the CSSA, explained this perfectly: “The AR-15 is a restricted firearm (in Canada) because someone put it on a list. If it was a brand new gun coming into Canada today, it would be a non-restricted firearm because it doesn't meet the mechanical characteristics of a restricted gun.”

What exactly are the “mechanical characteristics” that identify non-restricted semi-automatic firearms in Canada?

Simply put, a non-restricted semi-automatic firearm has a barrel length of 470 mm (18.5 inches) or greater, cannot be fired when reduced to under 660 mm (26 inches) by folding or telescoping and whose action (the mechanism by which the firearm loads, locks, fires and extracts cartridges) is NOT fully-automatic.

It means that the AR-15, if imported today, would be classified as a non-restricted rifle. The list of “evil-looking” guns that look militaristic in style yet are classified as non-restricted is very long indeed. For a list of pictures of some of these guns, all non-restricted semi-automatic firearms, go to

The Criminal Code in Section 84(1) defines the term “non-restricted firearm” as:

(a) a firearm that is neither a prohibited firearm nor a restricted firearm, or
(b) a firearm that is prescribed to be a non-restricted firearm;

And this is how the AR-15 became a restricted firearm – through the prescription mechanism. The AR-15 was specifically prescribed to be a restricted firearm DESPITE the fact it meets every criteria of a non-restricted firearm.

The RCMP website, under the heading of “How a firearm’s class is determined”, says this:

The class of a firearm is determined based on criteria set out in subsection 84(1) of the Criminal Code and corresponding regulations made by Orders in Council. (emphasis added)

So someone put the AR-15 on the restricted list. Why? It appears they didn’t like how it looked.

This is all predicated by the silly theory that there are “good” guns and “bad” guns. It’s a theory that lives on, sometimes even in the membership of our own gun clubs, despite its complete lack of factual basis. Guns are neither good nor bad. They are inanimate objects incapable of being anything other than hunks of metal.

The “good” or “bad” is based upon our actions as human beings. When someone helps a little old lady by carrying her groceries from the store to her car, it is “good”. When someone mugs the little old lady, it is “bad”.

It doesn’t matter what tool is used, it is the action that defines the deed.

This is something the Pink Pistols, an international LGBT self-defense organization, made crystal clear in the aftermath of the Florida tragedy. Gwendolyn Patton, First Speaker of the Pink Pistols, said in her press release:

“This is exactly the kind of heinous act that justifies our existence. At such a time of tragedy, let us not reach for the low-hanging fruit of blaming the killer’s guns. Let us stay focused on the fact that someone hated gay people so much they were ready to kill or injure so many. A human being did this. The human being’s tools are unimportant when compared to the bleakness of that person’s soul. I say again, GUNS did not do this. A human being did this, a dead human being. Our job now is not to demonize the man’s tools, but to condemn his acts and work to prevent such acts in the future.”

The AR-15 is a media-stereotyped “bad” gun because of how it looks, not because of how it functions. Contrary to the myth promoted by the media and anti-gun activists, it is not an “assault rifle”. The term “assault rifle” has a proper mechanical definition, one that the AR-15 simply does not meet.

Again, contrary to the myth promoted by the media and anti-gun activists, the “AR” in AR-15 does not mean “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle”. It simply refers to the name of the company that designed the rifle: ArmaLite. But the truth is so much less dramatic, isn’t it?

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a trade association whose mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports, wrote a detailed explanation of modern sporting rifles and references the AR-15 rifle specifically. The characteristics of the AR-15 they describe – specifically its semi-automatic action – are the same criteria used in Canada to define non-restricted firearms.

  • AR-15-platform rifles are the most popular sporting firearms sold today. That they are modern in design and look does not make them any less of a sporting arm. One does not have to hunt and target shoot with a firearm designed in the 1800’s.
  • The AR-15 isn't that modern. In fact, it was designed almost 60 years ago.  More importantly, it has been avaiable to the consumer market for well over 50 years. It has been involved in remarkably few crimes.
  • AR-15-style rifles are NOT “assault weapons” or “assault rifles.” An assault rifle, by definition, has full-automatic capabilities such as a machine gun
  • AR-15-style rifles look like military rifles, such as the M-16, but function like any other semi-automatic civilian sporting firearm, firing only one round with each pull of the trigger.
  • Chamberings include .22, .223 (5.56 x 45 mm), 6.5 mm Grendel, 6.8 SPC, .300 Blackout, .450 Bushmaster and about a dozen others. Upper receivers for pistol calibers such as 9 mm, .40, and .45 are available. There are even .410 shotgun versions.
  • AR-15-style rifles are no more powerful than other hunting rifles of the same caliber and, in most cases, are chambered in calibers less powerful than common big-game hunting cartridges like the 30-06 Springfield and .300 Win. Mag.

In short, the AR-15 is neither a “good” gun nor a “bad” gun. To quote CSSA’s Tony Bernardo once again:“it’s just a gun.”

Law abiding Canadians own them and use them – without incident – every day.


S-223, the ridiculous anti-gun legislation sposored by Senator Hervieux-Payette, simply refuses to die.  The Senator retired back in April and the bill entered a legislative limbo, where it had to be read into the record from the table for 15 sitting days of the Senate before dying on the Order Paper. Like the Pheonix, it recieved a last minute stay when Senator Fraser requested more time to study the bill before deciding if she would speak to it.  The bill will now stay on the Order Paper for another 15 days before being declared dead.

To the many people who have inquired, the bill has NOT been re-sponsored.

We are at Day 1.

About CSSA:

The CSSA is the voice of the sport shooter and firearms enthusiast in Canada. Our national membership supports and promotes Canada’s firearms heritage, traditional target shooting competition, modern action shooting sports, hunting, and archery. We support and sponsor competitions and youth programs that promote these Canadian heritage activities.

For more information, visit the website at

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    Gene RalnoTionicoMike McAllisterJim Recent comment authors
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    Gene Ralno
    Gene Ralno

    I hate to mention this at such a delicate time but the AR15 is almost 60 years old. Since its introduction back in the ’50s, great technological and ergonomic advances have been achieved. While out shopping, I took another look at the FN PS90 that has been on the civilian market for only a couple of years. The one I handled was $1,299 and had improved sights over what’s in the video below. This piece uses 5.7×28 mm ammunition and has lower muzzle velocity than the AR15. And it’s much more compact and lighter than the AR15. Doubtlessly, the AR15… Read more »


    Yes, it is ALWAYS a software issue, NEVER a hardware issue. the device can ONLY do what it is programmed to do, thus the programmer is always responsible for what the device does. To follow out the barmy “good gun bad gun” meme, consider Australia: they DECLARED all guns to be “bad”, and mandated the government’s taking them all up for destruction. They ended up with several tonnes of “bad guns” broken, cut, melted down. Thus the very steel from which those “bad guns” were made remained “evil”, further anything made from that steel retains the evil nature of those… Read more »

    Mike McAllister
    Mike McAllister

    One conclusion from this….LIBERALS ARE STUPID!!


    HERE IS OUR PROBLEM: We citizens and the conservative radio hosts continue to think and say don’t these people know or why don’t these people know it is not the gun but the bad guy. What pisses me off frankly is THEY DO KNOW the facts and they do know how dumb we citizens are to believe that they the anti-constitutionals (liberal Democrats and worse) don’t know. They MUST get guns out of the hands of citizens in order to seriously apply their type of special social reform and socialism–and remember the Nazi party was the National SOCIALIST German Worker’s… Read more »