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DHS is making a purchase of "Personal Defense Weapons". Their words not mine. (DHS's) So the context of the quote is, DHS wants personal defense weapons suitable for close quarters and is buying 7k .223's
I don't think there is any question that a AR-type rifle with a large magazine is an excellent defensive (or offensive) tool, otherwise they would not be a stardard for military and police use worldwide.
Modern AR-type guns have many applications. Hunting, defense, competiiton, etc., regardless of their current unpopularity in some circles.