INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The NRA calls it America’s most popular weapon, but the AR-15 is coming under renewed fire. Some lawmakers are saying after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, it’s too dangerous.
One of the bestselling weapons in the U.S., the AR-15, is also the same gun used in almost every mass shooting in this country. It has been used a dozen of them.
It’s no more powerful though than most other rifles. The speed and design of the semi-automatic gun is what makes it so lethal.
“Military and law enforcement, this is typically their platform that they use,” said Brian Ludlow, the owner of the Indy Trading Post.
The AR-15 is the civilian version of the weapon of choice used by the U.S. military, the M16. It’s capable of shooting 45 rounds per minute and can hold magazines with up to 100 bullets.
Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen obtained his AR-15 legally. He was also armed with a 9MM-caliber handgun.
“There’s significantly big difference in hole size going in,” said Ludlow when talking about each of the weapon’s impact on a target. The AR-15 produced a far smaller impact hole than the 9MM-caliber handgun.
Ludlow said there are a lot of misconceptions about the weapon.
“A lot of the media calls them assault rifles. Assault is an action, it’s not a description. So the NRA, myself, and everyone here chooses to call them modern sporting rifles,” he said.
Following Orlando though, it’s all eyes on the AR-15, used yet again in a deadly shooting spree.
“Given the tragic events in Orlando, where you are given what happened in San Bernardino last year, the American public and the congress have to face the fact that we need to address meaningful, responsible gun control to make it more difficult for a terrorist to get his hands on a gun,” said Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
In a statement responding to the Orlando shooting, Executive Director of the NRA, Chris Cox said, “It’s time for us to admit that radical Islam is a hate crime waiting to happen. The only way to defeat them is to destroy them — not destroy the right of law-abiding Americans to defend ourselves."