The AR-15 has been the rifle of choice in these attacks. All ARs were also .223 caliber. Does this mean we need stricter laws to purchase these guns? Or, should officials be better at their jobs; screening these guys before they go a-wall? Give us your thoughts below.
The type of AR-15 rifle that terrorist Omar Mateen used to kill 49 people and wound dozens more at a nightclub in Orlando has become the weapon of choice for mass murderers in the U.S. and is one of the common links between the shootings.
Even though it has caused carnage and left dozens of people dead in multiple shootings this decade alone, the military-inspired semi-automatic rifle designed for civilian use is perfectly legal in most states.
There were calls for a nationwide ban after the same type of firearm – capable of firing dozens of rounds in less than a minute without being reloaded – was used in the Sandy Hook school shooting, but it remains readily available at gun shops and was purchased just last week by Mateen before he went on his killing spree.
Mateen, 29, was armed with a .223-caliber AR-15-type rifle and a 9mm semi-automatic pistol – both legally purchased – when he opened fire at the Pulse gay club in Orlando early Sunday morning.
Called a ‘killing machine’ or ‘weapon of war’ by those who want to see it banned, the AR-15 rifle is the civilian version of the fully-automatic M16 used by soldiers in the Vietnam War. Unlike the M16, users must pull the trigger every time they want to fire a shot.
The most common versions of the AR-15 have been banned in a handful of states, including California.
When it is used against humans it is intended to cause maximum carnage in a brief amount of time, said experts.
‘It was designed for the United States military to do to enemies of war exactly what it did [in Orlando]: kill mass numbers of people with maximum efficiency and ease,” said lawyer Josh Koskoff, who is representing families of the Sandy Hook victims in a lawsuit, in an interview with the New York Daily News.
Richard Frankel, an ABC News contributor and former counterterrorism special agent for the FBI, told the TV network that mass shooters may be choosing the AR-15 because it is easy to operate and easy to obtain, as it’s sold by many gun retailers in the U.S.
‘It’s easy to load, point and shoot,’ he said, adding that an AR-15 can hold 30 rounds at a time and fire off those rounds in less than a minute.