Monkey see. Monkey do. MSM promotes AR 15s as the "go to" tool for mass shootings.
via USA Today
The name AR-15 (AR stands for ArmaLite, not assault rifle, which is a common misconception) is trademarked by the firearms manufacturer Colt. But since the patent on the weapon's operating system ran out, a host of other manufacturers began making their own variants of the popular rifle.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry's trade association, campaigned to have AR-platform rifles referred to as "modern sporting rifles," or MSRs, both to avoid confusion and to try to stem the reference to the rifles with the politically loaded "assault rifle" label.
The NRA said "the AR-15 has soared in popularity" because it's "customizable, adaptable, reliable and accurate." It is also versatile and can be used for "sport shooting, hunting and self-defense situations," the NRA said, adding the ability to "personalize" so many of the rifle's components "is one of the things that makes it so unique."
On top of that, the weapon is accurate, relatively lightweight and has low recoil.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence also cited the rifle’s versatility in evaluating its popularity.
“They’re accurate and they can basically shoot as quickly as you can pull the trigger,” according to a campaign statement.
"Along those lines, they’re very customizable — most average people can figure out how to install accessories like forward trigger grips that let you hold the gun at waist height and spray bullets while stabilizing the gun, laser sights, and you can add high-capacity magazines.”
The ability to add a high-capacity magazine to the rifles is certainly one factor that makes them attractive to people looking to commit mass murder. A 30-round magazine is fairly standard with MSRs (although some states cap the capacity to 10 or 15 rounds), but "drums" holding as many as 100 rounds are also available.
But the AR-15 and its variants aren't the only high-capacity semi-automatic rifles on the market.
Dean Hazen, owner of The Gun Experts in Mahomet, Ill., and a master firearms instructor, said the reason mass shooters are turning to the AR-15 is due to a "copy-cat" mentality more than any feature of the rifle.
"It’s really just a perception thing," Hazen said. "There are rifles that are more powerful and more dangerous than that, but they're not being used."
Hazen said the AR-15 has "gotten a bad rap." He believes mass shooters generally don't know much about guns and choose the AR-15 because of the reputation it has gotten from being used in other mass shootings.
"Thank God they don't know any better because if they did they would use much more effective weapons," Hazen said.
Read more here.