With the recent mass shooting in Florida, the AR-15 has been getting some bad press with many media outlets claiming that the AR-15 is the most commonly used gun in mass shootings and calling for a ban on the gun claiming that it will reduce the number of mass shootings and keep citizens safer.
Unfortunately, the truth is that the Ar-15 is not the most common weapon used in the mass shootings. Most mass shootings are committed using handguns.
Recent statistics on weapons used in mass shootings show that between 1982 and 2017, handguns were used in 67 of the mass shooting incidents, with 35 incidents involving rifles, 23 using shotguns, and 18 using traditional revolvers. This makes handguns by far the most popular choice as well as the most easy to carry. Most handguns that are not resolved operate the same as any other semi-automatic with a need to pull the trigger to fire each shot.
So, if handguns are the most popular weapons of choice for mass shootings, banning AR-15s will do little to ebb the flow of violence as shooters will simply gravitate to one of the other forms of weapons that are readily available.
Knowing this, why is it that the AR-15 generates so much controversy?
The short answer to this question is because of the way the rifle looks. The AR-15 design has come from modification to the classic M16, a popular fully automated military weapon. Yet, the AR-15 does not possess the same automatic firing capability, and has a completely different internal system to prevent automatic firing while still maintaining the liability and the accuracy of the weapon.
Unfortunately, the outer appearance of the gun is still varied similarly to the military rifle, and gun control activists are seizing on the opportunity to claim it is more dangerous as it is an “assault rifle,” which it is not. Those who are not familiar with the weapon will simply seize on the image provided by the media and movies that show guns similar to the AR-15 wreaking havoc. In reality, the AR-15 operates in the exact same manner as the handguns that the American public has stood behind for years.
Of course, firearms as a whole are not always the choice for mass killers.
While the media jumps on mass gun shootings to help drive up ratings and seize on the popular political debate over gun control, there are other mass killings where guns were not the weapons used. There have been other mass murders with means such as stabbing, blunt force trauma, fire, and explosive devices. These cases do not often draw the attention of the media as much as a school shootings because gun control is a hotly debated issue and while the other deaths are a tragedy there would be no way to work it in a political agenda.
For example, banning knives, baseball bats, or lighters would be considered an unattainable task, so it makes preventing these types of tragedies less newsworthy for news stories.
The sad truth of any situation is that the mental state of individuals looking to commit these atrocious acts is one often of aggression and destruction. They not only have little regard for the lives they are about to take or lives that will be damaged by their act, and they most likely have little concern on the means they will have to do to get their mission done.
Banning AR-15s will not cause those who have made the decision to commit violence change their mind — it will simply push them to another weapon of choice that can be equally destructive.
~ Firearm Daily