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.

    • This is 100% the truth, but we don’t care about truth in the 2020s do we? We care about feewings, people’s emotional opinions. What I feel that it really comes down to is that the federal government, through this arbitrary “”””party”””” system (I don’t care what “party” a politician claims to be a part of, they are all politicians along with THE 1% and will do whatever is in the best interest of the people in power, their friends, and not the middle class) has thoroughly succeeded in dividing America and keeping us regular people at each other’s throats, so whatever harms the other “side”s argument will be pushed by that “side”s lobbyists as well as its court of public opinion. The powerful and the wealthy are playing good, honest people like fucking fiddles and in the process, they are drastically weakening our country. It is only a matter of time before we face a collapse.

  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.

  4. Where to even start? Maybe US. vs. Miller 1939, the US government effectively argued that citizens are the militia and have a right to be armed with military weapons in common use. The Supreme Court upheld this idea. The case involved an individual who transported a sawed-off shotgun across state lines. The ruling issued was also upheld in Heller vs. US. We are the militia. We need to be able to use common military weapons to the defense of our nation.

    We have been lucky in that in the last 100 plus years we have not had a armed military invasion of our country. We are the last line of defense. Would anyone like to try to hold off the Chinese with a bolt action hunting rifle or a revolver?

    OK, back to the argument at hand. Has anyone looked at the FBI Expanded Table 8?

    Here is a link:

    The DATA (not emotion) shows 297 people were killed in 2018 with a rifle (all rifles not just military “style” rifles). In that same year 2018, 443 people were killed with hammers and blunt objects, 672 were killed with hands and feet, and 1515 were killed with knives.

    This data is common year after year after year.

    So let’s not play games. This is all about “WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING” feel good emotion and control over the populous. Banning all rifles will hardly change the statistics. Maybe we should ban hammers?

    Any MD should realize the issue is not the tool used, but the mental state of the criminal. To that point I say; Criminals don’t obey laws. If gun laws did work Chicago would be the safest city in the country. Criminals will continue break any new gun laws as they currently do.

    Written by: Steven Armstrong, Federal Police Officer and 27 year Army veteran.

  5. Obviously, the author of this article is a Liberal.
    If a rifle/long-barrel gun that is capable of firing multiple rounds is labeled as an “assault rifle”, then an automobile that is capable of travelling 90+ MPH should be labeled as “assault vehicles”, since motor vehicle crashes due to excessive speed far kills and seriously injures more people than firearms.
    Why are sports cars designed to travel at such high speeds when the maximum speed on most U.S. highways is 75 MPH?
    So, if Liberals feel that such firearms should be outlawed, then the U.S. should consider outlawing motor vehicles that are capable of travelling faster than what is actually legal.

  6. The Mini-14 may not be a great hunting round (the .223 is not quite stout enough of a round) but its cousin, the Mini-30, is acceptable for hogs and deer at 150 yards or less. Both will certainly do for home defense (just load them with hollow points and fire slowly while minding your backstop) – though I would prefer a pistol indoors or, even better, a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with buckshot. Always mind that such weapons use is a last resort and one should retreat so long as you and your family can exit the situation safely.

    Still, the Mini is, admittedly, bought by most to have fun at the range or in case of some highly unlikely doomsday scenario. The guns are just curiosities to most people who buy them. I just don’t understand why you think that banning the Mini, or the AK or the AR will somehow end all gun violence. Take those away and the jerks who perpetuate the violence will just use pistols and shotguns. Will we ban those too?

    I have seen no evidence that gun violence has “increased”. In fact, gun violence is far less now than it was in the 90s. Even after the lapse of the Assault Weapons Ban.

    Listen, I am a Democrat. I agree with most of their platform. However, they are wrong on Guns and similar “Nanny State” measures. In much the same way that Republicans lean on their wedge issues, Dems use this to please their base and gain political donations necessary for expensive modern political campaigns.

    Folks claiming that we should ban assault weapons since they are only useful for “mass killings” best beware how much they wish to empower the Nanny State. Will cars that go over 65 MPH be next? Will there be a buy back program for sports cars and speed bikes? Food that exceeds state designated fat and caloric allotments can be bad for your health. Should we ban fast food? Isnt that causing a drain on our health care system?

    At the end of the day, Dems will make alot of noise about it. They will fire up their base. They will, at most, pass some expensive opt in buy back program or something about background checks or registration.

    But this isn’t Canada. They won’t ban big guns.

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