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
  • Why a see-through mouse is a big deal for scientists

    A group of Caltech researchers announced in Cell Thursday their success in making an entire organism transparent. Unfortunately, this isn't any kind of "Invisible Man" scenario: The organism in question is a mouse, and the mouse in question is quite dead.

    July 31, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • Rodden, Danny.jpg Sheriff accused of lying about relationship with prostitute

    The sheriff of Clark County, Ind., faces an eight-count federal indictment that accuses him of lying about paying a prostitute for a sex act and giving her a badge so that she could claim a discount rate at a hotel.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

Sports

Features

Opinion