Category Archives: mass shootings

Why Mass Murderers Love the AR-15

Every wonder why the AR-15 rifles have become the weapon of choice for mass murderers?

The AR-15 rifle, like its automatic M-16 military equivalent, is a weapon of war designed for only one purpose, killing as many people as possible as quickly and efficiently as possible. Actually, we should be using the term “AR-15 style rifle” because while Colt’s patent on the weapon expired long ago, but they still maintain the copyright on the AR-15 designation. So while many gun manufacturers make equivalent rifles, each has their own naming convention for their version of these people killers.

When a person is shot with a regular handgun or rifle, the bullet carves a relatively narrow path through the body. Unless it hits a vital organ like the heart or brain or a major artery in many cases the injury is survivable prompt medical care. Many people shot with AR-15 are not as fortunate.Most seerrious handguns and rifles use 38 caliber to 45 caliber ammunitions. On the other hand, most AR-15 style weapons use the relatively small 5.56 mm (22.3 caliber) ammunition, just a tiny bit bigger than that used by the popular 22 rifles which are useful for killing small game and plinking targets. (See picture above.)  However, when shot by an AR-15 style weapon that small 5.46 mm bullet is propelled by the explosion much larger than normal amount of gunpowder.  The bullet leaves the AR-15’a barrel with incredible speed, much faster than that of a regular rifle. When the bullet hits someone it makes a small hole, but due to its high velocity it fragments and tumbles inside the body causing a massive amount damage to tissue, organs or whatever is in its way before leaving an exit wound the size of a small orange.

This means that wounds to parts of the body that one could recover from if shot by a regular hand gun or rifle could easily be fatal if the weapon used is an AR-15. In war this is an asset because when you shoot an enemy you want “stopping power”. You don’t want the person shot shooting you in return. However, it also means that when an AR-15 is in the hands of a would be mass murderer, the people he manages to shoot are much more likely to die.

When killing power is combined with the AR-15’s semi-automatic capability (you can shoot as quickly as you can pull the trigger), high capacity magazines (which can hold 20, 30, 60, or even 100 rounds) and the weapon’s lightweight you have a devastating weapon. That is why it’s military equivalent – the M16 – has been the designated weapon of the US Marines since 1983 and the US Army since 1986 and has only recently been replaced with M4 carbine, which is also a variant of the M16. The M16 is still the weapon of choice of the armies of many countries around the world. When I was an Air Force officer the AR–15 was used by our Strategic Air Command Military Police when guarding our nuclear loaded B-52G bombers on the alert pad.

The biggest difference between the AR-15 style rifle and one of the military M16 variants is that the M16 can be set on automatic fire mode (it will continue to fire as long as the trigger is held down), or in three round bursts mode (three rounds fire for every trigger pull) as well as in semi-automatic mode like the AR-15.  However, the US military trains its solders to fire their M16’s in semi-automatic mode only except in unusual situations because that gives the shooter the best accuracy.  Therefore, for all practical purposes our military personal use their M16’s the same manner as a criminal would use an AR-15 when on a killing spree.  Besides there are conversion kits and bump stocks which can easily turn an AR-15 style rifle into an automatic weapon as we saw in the Las Vegas shootings.

The AR-15 is not a weapon any sensible person would want to have available to the general public. Gun enthusiasts claim that there are legitimate uses for the AR-15 style rifles – self-defense, killing wild hogs, etc. However, the truth of the matter is that there are handguns, shotguns and/or other rifles which are at least as effective for performing those tasks as an AR-15, but which are also much less effective in a mass shooting situation.  When a mad man decides to go on a killing spree, don’t we want to reduce number of people likely to be shot and killed to as few as possible.

So, with the AR-15 style rifles we have a military weapon which has no civilian uses other than giving their owners a charge while tearing up targets on a firing range and/or making them feel like important people because they have dangerous weapons just like real solders.  I’m sorry, but their right to have these weapons of war do not outweigh the rights of 27 first graders and teachers in Newtown, 58 concert attendees in Las Vegas; 14 people at a party in San Bernardino, 49 people in a nightclub in Orlando, and 17 freshmen and their teachers in Stonewall Douglas High School to live the rest of their lives.

Cajun    3/5/2018