As a judge overturning California’s assault weapons ban points out, an AR-15 is basically a Swiss Army knife.
“Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment,” U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez said in the ruling.
Leaving aside the question of why civilians are purchasing “homeland defense equipment” (did we forget to include the Army line in the budget this year?), this makes total sense.
What two items could be more directly and obviously comparable than an AR-15 and a Swiss Army knife? I can’t think of how many times I’ve used an AR-15 to open a bottle of wine. Whenever I need a toothpick but cannot find one, I just whip out my AR-15.
Conversely, whenever I am entering a theater of war, I always remember to pack my Swiss Army knife. That way, if anyone comes at me, I can offer to help them open a bottle, which will be so confusing to them that perhaps I can just get up and walk away before anyone notices I have gone. I very much understand how things work in theaters of war.
Sometimes you wish you had a nail file, but you don’t have one, and at times like these it is so good to have such a versatile tool as the AR-15, designed for home defense and homeland defense, which will shoot a very large number of bullets into something to help you express your frustration at not having a nail file.
How often have you thought, “I wish I had a pair of scissors and a corkscrew that fit into my pocket?” and then reached into your pocket and felt it: the AR-15.
Who hasn’t done this? You go to your local big box store and say, “I need to buy something to keep in the junk drawer of the kitchen so that if I ever lose my tweezers, I can pull it out and use the little set of tweezers that is included with it.” Everyone knows what they do next: lead you to the aisle of Swiss Army Knives and AR-15s. “Take your pick!” they say. “These are functionally identical! But keep in mind that this is America, so the AR-15s are on sale.”
It is so crucial to have the right tool for the job. Life involves many tasks, many moments, each of them requiring their own tool, their own solution. That is why the Swiss Army knife was designed: with tweezers, a toothpick, a nail file, a corkscrew, in some instances a pen, a thermometer, and a pair of tiny scissors. Each of these things answers an individual need, solves a particular problem. Opening a bottle, cutting a thread, filing a nail, picking food out of your teeth. Or, better yet, consider the unparalleled versatility of the AR-15, which fires bullets.
What more flexible tool could one possibly have around the home than the AR-15, designed for one purpose: killing. Why would you ever want to not have one around you? Why would you ever?
Follow The Washington Post’s Alexandra Petri on Twitter, @petridishes.