The Mini-14 Assault Weapon: is civilian ownership justified?



Comparing the AR-15 to the Mini-14

During my year in Vietnam as a medical officer I occasionally did target shooting with my M-16 on both fully automatic and semi-automatic settings. I also debrided horrendous wounds from AK-47 or M-16 guns that had muzzle velocities of 2800 and 3200 feet per second respectively.

Today I shot a Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic Military style rifle. This assault rifle that takes the same ammunition as an AR-15 has a 30 round clip that can be exchanged with a new clip in a matter of seconds. The Mini-14 weights about 6 pounds, is small in size, has amazingly little recoil and is remarkable accurate. It can be fired at the rate of over 100 rounds per minute with ease. The devastation to our targets that included concrete blocks, water container and cans was awesome. This macho weapon conveys a real sense of power and devastation.

The Mini-14 assault weapon is every bit as deadly as an M-16 military style rifle. In my opinion, it has no place in civilian hands. It is not in general use for hunting, competitive rifle meets, or even self-defense. It is a killing machine that enables some kook to kill in short order large numbers of people.

It is beyond comprehension why the NRA and gun lobby support allowing these weapons to fall into civilian hands with no universal background checks and weapon registration. To outlaw bump fire stocks, oversize magazines, automatic rifles and waiting periods are no brainers but this limited approach is just a band aide if you want to address mass indiscriminate shootings that are occurring at a seemingly increasing rate.

I have a carry conceal permit but believe that all gun sales should include a background check and gun registration and this includes dealers that appear at gun shows without Federal licenses. I realize that there are well 200 million+ unregistered fire arms floating around our country and to call them in to be registered is out of the question, but, at least, universal registration with new gun sales is a start at beginning to track gun ownership. It is no magic bullet but I believe that this initiative does not conflict with the 2nd Amendment rights.

I feel that public opinion is trending toward greater gun control and the NRA will have to adjust if it is to survive.

Written By: Dick Wendel MD, MBA.


  1. “It is a killing machine that enables some kook to kill in short order large numbers of people.“ Please show us examples of these kooks shooting up places with a Mini-14. (I own a Colt AR-15, by the way, but I control it; it doesn’t control me.)

    Also, please explain how gun registration and “tracking gun ownership” have anything to do with public safety. What would that do?

    • The largest mass shooting ever perpetrated in history was done in Norway by a man using a Ruger Mini 14. He killed a very, very large number of people in short order. In one day, over a few hours he killed 69 people and wounded 110 after setting off a bomb that killed 8 and injured over 200. Aside from that example: the 1999 shooting at Wedgewood Baptist Church in Texas, leaving seven victims dead and seven wounded; Oregon’s Thurston High School in 1998, leaving four dead and 22 wounded; the 1993 Long Island Railroad shooting, leaving six dead and 19 wounded; the 1991 Luby’s massacre, leaving 23 victims dead and 20 wounded; and, a 1987 shootout at a Florida shopping center, leaving six dead, including two police officers.

      Not to agree with the original poster, as I understand millions have been sold since 1973 and maybe only a few hundred really bad eggs have gotten a hold of them. I think responsible civilians should be allowed to own and operate weapons like the Mini 14 freely.

      I do not, however, deny that it’d be a lot harder for tragedies like those in Oslo and across America to occur if affordable and reliable high-capacity killing weapons were not so readily available. Our freedoms walk hand in hand with death, such as they always have

  2. The Mini-14 does not utilize “clips”. It is a semi-automatic, not automatic, so your rate-of-fire criticisms do not make a lot of sense in this context. It’s not a military-issue nor “-style” weapon — it’s marketed to ranchers.

    Shootings are not occurring at an increasing rate. Gun deaths of all types including mass shooting events have plummeted by roughly 50% since the 1990s. Only media coverage has increased. No other variables have increased.

    As a social scientist it’s really difficult to watch people ignore real tangible epidemics (such as drug addiction and child neglect) and become hysterical about non-existent epidemics such as shooting sprees (despite television coverage, we are in a “golden age” with rapidly declining shooting deaths). It’s not just wasted energy — you are willing to sacrifice essential human freedoms in exchange for absolutely nothing because the problem you’re trying to solve does not mathematically exist.

    More importantly, as someone with an internet connection and Google, I wonder how you can be so lazy and irresponsible. It takes 5 minutes, max.

    • You sound like a very sensible person. I wish more people would use their brains and do research on stuff before sharing stuff on social media that could be bs.

  3. You state that it’s not a good self defense rifle, but at the same time point out that it’s a light weight remarkably accurate killing machine with little recoil, sounds like an amazing home defense rifle, and an amazing rifle for being in the woods with. And somebody who claims to have been in the military I’d hope know the difference between a rifle such as the mini 14 vs the military grade assault weapons that requires an FFL lisence which is very costly and time consuming and hard to get not to mention the cost of the weapon itself. Furthermore, the fact that a firearm shares a caliber with another is not grounds to condem the rifle, that is just pure ignorance, for example, a Browning M1919 machine gun and a Remington 700 both use 30-06 cartridges, VERY DIFFERENT WEAPONS. And further more, firearms do not kill people, people kill people, wars would not happen without people, murder and mass shootings would not happen without people, and if we start banning things based on certain events, we should also outlaw cars, knives, gasoline, planes and so on…. this article is not fact, it’s propaganda.

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