The deadliest mass shootings in the United States – be it, the massacre at an Orlando night club, the carnage at a Las Vegas concert, the slaughter inside a Texas church or bloodshed at a high school in Florida – all had one thing in common: they were committed by domestic terrorists using AR-15 style rifles.
According to the National Rifle Association (NRA), the weapon is one of the most famous rifles in the country and Americans own more than 8 million of them. In fact, the organization believes it is popular because of its ease of use and versatility, factors like the weapon being “customizable, adaptable, reliable and accurate,” also play a role. People who own the weapon can also customize it according to their need. They can mix and match elements such as barrels, grips and stocks.
Just recently, 19-year-old Nikolaus Cruz entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where he had once been expelled for disciplinary reasons, and opened fire with an assault rifle. He killed 17 people and injured more than a dozen before he was arrested by police.
It was the 40th mass shooting to have occurred this year and is being ranked among the deadliest mass shootings in the recent U.S. history.
Last year, when gunman Devin Patrick Kelley fatally shot 26 people and injured another 20 people when he opened fire at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, investigation into the incident revealed he had used a Ruger AR-556, which is a variant of the semi-automatic AR-15 rifle, in the deadly rampage.
When 64-year-old Stephen Paddock killed 58 concertgoers in Las Vegas, police found a trove of firearms in his hotel room, with calibers ranging from .308 (used in hunting rifles) to .223 (used in AR-15 semi-automatic rifles).
Tragically, these rifles have a relatively low price tag. According to the FBI, these rifles were used in 2.4 percent of homicides. Yet, these weapons of war are still accessible to civilians.
According to Dean Hazen, owner of The Gun Experts in Mahomet, Ill., and a master firearms instructor, the real reason these shooters are using AR-15 is due to a "copy-cat" mentality. It is not based on any feature of the rifle but just simply because they copy former shooters.
“It’s really just a perception thing. There are rifles that are more powerful and more dangerous than that, but they're not being used. Thank God they don't know any better because if they did they would use much more effective weapons,” he said.
There is no earthly reason American civilians should have access to AR-15s. None.— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) February 14, 2018
It’s always an AR-15.— Adam Jentleson (@AJentleson) February 14, 2018
If you need an AR-15 for hunting you are a shitty hunter.
The only reason AR-15s are legal is the NRA and Republicans who would rather see kids die and offer thoughts and prayers than stand up to the NRA. https://t.co/UHpqO6cnzV
Police confirm an AR-15 rifle was used in today's school shooting. AR-15 style rifles were used in the Texas church shooting, the Las Vegas concert shooting, the Orlando nightclub shooting and Sandy Hook. The NRA says a ban on AR-15s wouldn't do any good. Could we please try?— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) February 14, 2018
Today, they'll tell you that teachers should be forced to carry, to learn how to shoot, to use guns that fire a handful of bullets against AR-15s that fire hundreds.— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) February 15, 2018
Freedom to them is turning teachers into soldiers.
Guns aren't the antidote. They're the disease.#GunControl
AR-15 rifles used in today's Florida school shooting— Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) February 15, 2018
the Texas church shooting
Las Vegas concert shooting
Orlando nightclub shooting
AR-15s are not for hunting.
Only for slaughtering humans.
Remember: no other country has these mass killings. If no assault weapons,shooting of this sort means many fewer victims. No mincing words:those who have voted over & over to allow easy access to AR-15s have blood on their hands. No matter how often they offer thoughts & prayers.— Norman Ornstein (@NormOrnstein) February 15, 2018
My family lived in Broward County, not far from Parkland, for 14 years. Two of our kids were born there and our boys played soccer in West Broward for five years. South Florida is nothing like the Wild West. There are no warlords. It's suburbia. There shouldn't be AR-15s there.— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) February 15, 2018
Civilians don't need AR-15s.— 🌎Joshua Malina🌎 (@JoshMalina) February 15, 2018
Thumbnail Credits : Reuters, Rick Wilking