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?

  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.

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