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AR-15: Choice of Mass Shooters

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NEWS

AR-15: Choice of Mass Shooters

NATIONAL: A School, A Concert and A Church. What Are High Power Weapons Doing in These Places?

Marc Cortes | News Writer
March 2, 2018


For less than the price of an iPhone, a mass shooter can takes hundreds of lives.

A brand-new AR-15 can be purchased for only $650 by practically anyone over the age of 18, anywhere in the country.

AR-15-style weapons have been used by most of the perpetrators of this decade’s deadliest shootings.

Just to recap on the highlights of the AR-15 in action, the Las Vegas shooting that killed 58 last October, the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando of 2016, killing 49, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 that took 27 lives, and the recent Parkland shooting that killed 17 all involved an AR-15-style weapon.

“The AR-15 is a civilian version of the M4 carbine that is used by the US Army. What has happened in the past 10 or 20 years is that these assault-style weapons have become popular as sporting rifles.” – COL (R) Andrew Flynn

The AR-15 is a semi-automatic, assault-style rifle produced by Colt, an American firearms manufacturer. Over time, countless gun makers have made similar models of the AR-15, thus AR-15 has become an umbrella term for the many variations of this legal, semi-automatic weapon.

Being semi-automatic, this rifle fires one round when the trigger is pulled then automatically reloads the chamber. One loophole, notably used by the Las Vegas shooter, is to use an accessory like the bump stock, which virtually turns a semi-automatic weapon into a fully-automatic one. With a fully-automatic weapon, a person can fire continuous rounds just by holding the trigger.

Compared to a typical revolver or handgun, the AR-15 can do a tremendous amount of damage. An ordinary handgun manually advances the cylinder after every round is shot, which means that it would take a lot longer to fire multiple rounds.

Another substantial difference between the two is firing speed. A 9mm handgun can fire a bullet at about 700 to 1,100 feet per second, while an AR-15 can fire a bullet at about 2,800 to 3,000 feet per second. A typical magazine for a handgun holds 20 rounds, but the standard magazine for the AR-15 holds 30. Furthermore, an owner has the option to buy a magazine that can hold more rounds.

The AR-15 has been popular among the consumer market for decades, widely available in gun stores. The National Rifle Association estimates there are approximately eight million AR-15s and variations of it in circulation, saying that the “AR” should stand for “America’s Rifle”.

With recent pressure from gun control activists and rising consciousness of the dangers of semi-automatic weapons, companies like Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods are setting new restrictions on gun sales.

Dick’s Sporting Goods, a major American sports retailer, announced on Feb 28 it would immediately end sales of any military-style semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines and would no longer sell firearms to anyone under 21. Walmart also announced it would only sell firearms to individuals above 21.

Under federal law, one must be 21 to purchase a handgun from a licensed seller, however in a state like Florida, an 18-year-old can easily buy a semi-automatic weapon after passing a few background checks.

In the advent of countless mass shootings occurring in seemingly safe areas, the American public is left to reconsider the loose restrictions on firearms.


Marc Cortes is a writer for the News Department. Currently in his junior year, this is his first year working for The Mirror.

He enjoys a wide range of musical genres, from rap to EDM to Taylor Swift. Suffering from chronic procrastination and a tendency to internalize his emotions, Marc avoids thinking about his troubles by watching Netflix and YouTube.


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