The military-style AR-15 assault rifle is the most talked about weapon in America following recent mass shootings in which high-capacity firearms were used to take numerous lives in a short time span.
The creator of the weapon, Eugene Stoner, passed away in 1997 — long before the gun became a hot commodity among mass shooters. His family recently spoke out to set the record straight about the real intended purpose of the gun.
"Our father, Eugene Stoner, designed the AR-15 and subsequent M-16 as a military weapon to give our soldiers an advantage over the AK-47," the Stoner family reportedly told NBC News late Wednesday. "He died long before any mass shootings occurred. But, we do think he would have been horrified and sickened as anyone, if not more by these events."
Guns manufactured in the style of an AR-15 have been used in about 10 mass shootings in recent years including the Sandy Hook Elementary and San Bernardino shootings, as well as the most recent Orlando massacre.
The Stoner family’s statement clearly indicates that the high-powered weapon was never meant for civilian use and it certainly wasn’t meant to be used in senseless mass shootings.
Stoner, an ex-Marine, reportedly never even used an AR-15 for sport or kept one around the house for personal protection.
"After many conversations with him, we feel his intent was that he designed it as a military rifle," his family said, explaining that Stoner was "focused on making the most efficient and superior rifle possible for the military."
Stoner designed the weapon in the late 1950s — the first version was so light and powerful that it was deemed perfect for the military.
The firearm was originally named the M16 with the semi-automatic version becoming known as the AR-15 years down the line, NBC News reports.
"What has happened, good or bad, since his patents have expired is a result of our free market system," Stoner's family said. Unfortunately, there has been significantly more bad than good to come from this.
Dubbed “American’s rifle” by the NRA, the AR-15 has become a symbol of evil — used to steal American lives rather than to protect them as Stoner intended.
The Stoner family’s clarification about this weapon will undoubtedly fuel the push for a nationwide ban against these and other assault weapons to keep them out of civilians’ hands, which would be a huge leap in the right direction toward curbing the mass shooting epidemic that currently plagues this country.