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What I was suggesting was that it appears 1poormom lives in a relatively safe neighbourhood and that securing the home is likely to the preferable option for the unlikely event of an attempted break-in.

Ok, I definitely agree that it makes sense to secure the home as a first line of defense and that it is simpler and safer (unless you go all Dr. Evil and install laser sharks ;) ). It would be foolish not to.

Driving is a relatively safe endeavor otherwise we wouldn't take the risk. But we do every time we step in the vehicle. We carry insurance because statistically speaking there is low risk but a highly negative outcome when it goes really wrong. By the same token, you can view a gun as an insurance policy if something does happen. I hear what you are saying but multiple lines of defense are usually better than one: be prepared, have a backup plan, etc. She already has the gun, so that's more reason to make sure the 1st line of defense is there, to increase the chances that she doesn't have to use it. Just like there are different levels of insurance protection you can choose. Some may choose the minimum and some choose more.

It's not any more dangerous than a lot of hunting rifles but it is more unusual and the clue is in the title: hunting rifles are for hunting, whereas assault rifles are for assault!

Isn't that just semantics and cosmetic factors since as you acknowledge the AR-15 is not any more dangerous than a lot of hunting rifles?

Can I ask how do you come to the conclusion that they are more unusual? The original design was made in 1957 and it appears there are 34 different companies that now manufacture the AR-15 or a variant. It's readily available at retail (to those who pass the proper checks). That doesn't seem to fit my definition of unusual.

I'm will fully acknowledge that I am not a gun person and I am trying to get up to speed on the issue but it appears that they were built with versatility rather than power in mind. My understanding is that it is slightly more powerful than a standard .22. Plenty of hunting rifles and handguns have more power than those. Semi-automatic AR-15s for sale to civilians are internally different from the full automatic M-16, although nearly identical in external appearance so one can understand why they look scary. They look just like the military gear. Here is a list of the notable features that I found that indicate the versatility:

Some notable features of the AR-15 include:

Aluminum receiver is lightweight, highly corrosion-resistant, and easy to machine
Modular design allows the use of numerous accessories and makes repair easier
Straight-line stock design eliminates the fulcrum created by traditional bent stocks, reducing muzzle climb.
Small caliber, accurate, light weight, high velocity round (.223/5.56x45mm)
Easily adapted to fire numerous other rounds
Front sight adjustable for elevation
Rear sight adjustable for windage (most models) and elevation (some models)
Wide array of optical aiming devices available in addition to or as replacements of iron sights
Synthetic pistol grip and butt stock that do not swell or splinter in adverse conditions (regulated in some states)
Ergonomic design that makes the charging handle, selector switch (safety), magazine release, and bolt catch assembly easy to access.

They pose no additional danger to alternatives and they have the same primary purpose. The same cannot be said for assault rifles.

I'm not sure I agree. No one is directly harmed by owning a gun. The way I see it is the primary purpose of a gun is to fire a projectile at high velocity. The primary purpose of a car is to get you from point A to point B. Both are tools and it is the application of that tool that determines the danger to yourself and others. If you practice the proper application of safety for each item, there is no danger. I don't think that the application is relevant in the context of the 2nd Amendment (i.e. hunting/self-defense/competition).
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