The AR-15 is a common assault rifle. Lightweight. Gas-operated. Magazine-fed.
It was first built in 1959 by ArmaLite as a small arms rifle for the US army.
Its common nickname is ‘The Black Rifle’; there are many variations and the picture shows one.
It was the weapon of choice in the US massacres at Sandy Hook, Aurora, San Bernadino and now, Orlando.
In its conventional state, it fires a small calibre bullet at high velocity, but can be adjusted to shoot 14 different calibres and sizes of ammunition.
The standard magazine is 30 rounds, but 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, 60, 90, and 100 round magazines are available as well, but only the 5 round, non-detachable clip is legal in California.
With sights these rifles are accurate up to 500 yards, but the range is much greater.
There are an estimated 2.5-3.7 million AR-15 rifles in civilian hands in the United States.
Since 1980 in the US there have been at least 52 mass shootings, involving three or more deaths, where the killer used high-capacity ammunition magazines.
The Violence Policy Center, based in Washington D.C., said after the Orlando shootings: “Assault weapons like the AR-15 used in the Orlando shooting were designed for a simple purpose: to kill as many people as quickly and efficiently as possible. These semi-automatic military-bred firearms, and the high-capacity detachable ammunition magazines that enhance their firepower, should not be sold in any nation that considers itself civilised.”
But we’ve long had our doubts about America’s ‘civilisation’, anyway.
Picture source: ‘M62’ via Wikimedia