CNHI News Service

News

December 19, 2012

5 to 10 million semi-automatic assault rifles owned by Americans

SALEM, Mass. — When Adam Lanza slaughtered 20 first-graders and six staff members at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., he  used a Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle to cause the carnage.

That's the same type of gun used to kill 12 people and wound dozens more in a July movie theater massacre in Colorado. It was used again this month to kill two people in a Portland, Ore., mall shooting.

This trilogy of killing sprees has ignited yet another national debate over the sale of semi-automatic weapons, with the AR-15 assault rifle front and center this time.

To many Americans, the AR-15 is a mystery. But not to the gun community. It is well-known there for its lightweight, durability and accuracy as well as the ability to fire multiple high-velocity rounds quickly.

Modeled after the U.S. Army's M-16, the user needs only to pull the trigger to fire each round after the weapon automatically readies itself to fire again from a high capacity bullet clip.

The rifle is commonly used by the public at shooting ranges, in marksmanship competitions and for hunting. 

Lanza, the Connecticut killer, got the high-powered rifle from his mother, who had legally purchased it for shooting range practice. He murdered his mother before going to Sandy Hook School, and killed himself at the scene as police arrived.

That information has raised questions about what a military-style assault weapon with high-capacity ammunity clips is doing in a private home, accessible to a troubled family member.

But the AR-15 rifle, and versions of it, can be found in many homes across America.

Jim Wallace, executive director of the Gun Owners' Action League, estimated that "nationwide there's anywhere from 5 to 10 million of that rifle in the hands of lawful citizens."

Text Only
News
  • Brother sues W.Va. senator over business loan

    U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin's brother claims he's owed $1.7 million that he loaned to keep a family carpet out of bankruptcy in the 1980s.

    July 25, 2014

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 2014

  • Police Brutality screen shot. Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (VIDEO)

    Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • An oncologist uses scorpion venom to locate cancer cells

    Olson, a pediatric oncologist and research scientist in Seattle, has developed a compound he calls Tumor Paint. When injected into a cancer patient, it seems to light up all the malignant cells so surgeons can easily locate and excise them.

    July 22, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 2.00.42 PM.png VIDEO: Train collides with semi truck carrying lighter fluid

    A truck driver from Washington is fortunate to be alive after driving his semi onto a set of tracks near Somerset, Ky., and being struck by a locomotive, which ignited his load of charcoal lighter fluid.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

Sports

Features

Opinion