Added: Kris Guo - Date: 17.11.2021 04:24 - Views: 46039 - Clicks: 4234
For some, the gun is a tool, a finely tuned machine that can cut down an animal or intruder, or pierce a distant target, with a single precise shot. For others, it is a toy, a sleek beast of black plastic and metal that delivers a gratifying blast of adrenaline. And for many, it is a symbol, the embodiment of core American values — freedom, might, self-reliance. When he takes his AR out of its case at a shooting range, he smiles like he just unwrapped a gift. Because an AR, or a variant, was reportedly used in several mass shootings — including Aurora , Colorado; Newtown, Connecticut; San Bernardino ,California; Sutherland Springs , Texas; Las Vegas and Parkland, Florida, in which a total of people were killed — this civilian sibling of a military assault rifle is an exceptionally polarizing product of modern American industry.
It is the focus of multiple attempts at prohibition, which in turn has prompted people to run out and buy more. Gun merchants say some buyers are also driven by a fascination with a weapon used in notoriously heinous crimes. Fears of a ban have subsided under gun-friendly President Donald Trump, and so have sales; gun makers are in the midst of a year-long slump that has driven down prices for AR-style rifles. Those discounts appear to have driven a record of Black Friday gun background checks.
The gun, revolutionary for its light weight, easy care and adaptability with additional components, entered the mainstream in the mids, after Colt bought the patent and developed an automatic-fire version for troops in Vietnam, called the M That transformed a specific brand to a more generic offering on which a mini-industry would flourish.
When the AR and other semiautomatic rifles began to turn up in shootings, a movement began to restrict their manufacture and sale. Much of the outrage stemmed from the militaristic appearance of those guns, and their ability to fire rapidly. But there was also a more visceral reason, involving flesh and blood. ARs inflict much more damage to human tissue than the typical handgun, which is used in most shootings. That's largely because of the speed at which projectiles leave the weapons; they are much faster out of the muzzle of an AR, or similar rifle, and deliver a more devastating blow to bones and organs.
Those projectiles are also more likely to break apart as they pass through the body, inflicting more damage. Manufacturers continued making versions of the AR that complied with the new law, which was allowed to expire in That set the stage for an explosion in AR sales. Anti-terror police forces began patrolling cities and transportation hubs, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were covered intimately.
That higher visibility seemingly fed a desire among gun owners to get what the troops and cops were using. With encouragement from the gun industry, the AR grew popular not only among people who enjoyed owning the latest tactical gear, but also among recreational and competitive target shooters, and hunters. Many saw it as a pinnacle of firearms engineering — ergonomic, accurate, reliable. Production of AR-style guns has soared since the federal ban expired.
In , , were made. In , the was 1. The organization does not provide sales data, nor does it have production estimates, but says that year's activity likely broke all records. Today, one of out of every five firearms purchased in this country is an AR-style rifle , according to a NSSF estimate. Americans now own an estimated 15 million ARs , gun groups say. Chandler is an unlikely AR enthusiast. He grew up outside Baltimore, a city plagued by gun violence, raised by parents opposed to firearms and was friends with kids whose lives had been torn apart by them.
For much of his youth he considered himself anti-gun. Then a well-to-do neighbor was shot in a home invasion. Chandler realized that his family had no weapon to defend itself, and decided to buy a gun when he got old enough. When he turned 21 and began shopping, Maryland tightened laws in response to the December mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
That measure banned many types of semiautomatic rifles, so when Chandler eventually decided that he wanted an AR, he built one from scratch, adhering to the new restrictions. On one of his recent visits to a gun range, Chandler showed what made the AR a cutting-edge gun when it was created, and one reason why it became so widespread. Pushing the gun's "takedown pins" with his fingers, he broke his gun down into its basic components, and within several seconds snapped it back together. This is why some people compare the AR to a car chassis, others to Legos or Mr. Potato Head. Those who build ARs from scratch link themselves to a centuries-old American gunsmithing tradition.
Building an AR at home often begins with buying a "lower receiver," the only part with a serial and that requires a federal background check. The rest of the core parts are available online. Then there is a seemingly endless array of accessories: barrels, grips, stocks, rails, magazines and scopes.
Chandler loves the AR he built. He admires its simple, efficient mechanics, its precision, and how much fun it brings. He fires almost weekly for target practice, along with a Glock 17 handgun. Chandler, who is black, doesn't have many friends who enjoy guns as much as he does. So he has created a firearm-focused Instagram to find similarly minded people, many of them millennial first-generation gun owners like himself.
The hashtag ar15 has over 1. This new generation of gun owners, who show off their accessorized rifles on social media — and often seek sponsorship deals with manufacturers — are a reflection of how conventional the AR has become. But gun-control advocates say the industry has exploited people's fears and desires, promoting a gun originally deed to kill people. They argue that ARs and similar guns cause more damage, and death, when used in mass shootings. Related: Fate of Sandy Hook lawsuit against gun maker could be decided by a slingshot.
Since the time of the federal ban, attempts to restrict gun sales have met with mixed success, with tighter restrictions on people accused of domestic violence but wider acceptance of concealed carry. Crime rates in America have declined drastically during that period. Even so, ARs and similar guns are still used in mass shootings, drawing new rounds of condemnation — and calls for new bans — with each attack. Some states have enacted their own bans, a list that grew after the Newtown shooting.
None of these states have outlawed the AR altogether, however. Gun industry surveys assert that the typical AR owner is a married man over 35 , with a large proportion having served in the military or law enforcement. But this appears to be changing. New buyers tend to be younger and more diverse than the general gun-buying public, according to a report published by Southwick Associates, a market research firm, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. That also includes women. She and her husband researched which gun would meet their needs: something safe, reliable and versatile.
This year, after the birth of her second child, Hill decided to start working on becoming a competitive shooter, documenting her journey on Instagram. For Hill, life with an AR can best be described in one word: freedom. The gun industry has another more marketable name for the AR the modern sporting rifle. The label ifies its crossover appeal. The gun is now a key component in shooting sport events and has replaced the bolt-action rifle as the gun of choice for many hunters. One has a long barrel for use on varmints: coyotes, bobcats and foxes. The other has a shorter barrel that he takes out on long excursions into the brush, where he hunts for wild pigs.
He hosts Facebook and Instagram s dedicated to hunting in a state with tight firearm regulations. Rod Pinkston, on the other hand, uses the AR because it can fire follow-up shots quickly. A retired soldier, he runs a Georgia company that develops methods to control the invasive feral pig population in the South. He and his staff, including former Army sharpshooters, depend on their ARs to take out several pigs in a single encounter. Pinkston sometimes brings paying guests on night expeditions, outfitting them with ARs accessorized with top-of-the-line gear, not too different from what he used in the service.
IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser. Politics Covid U. News World Opinion Business. Share this —. Follow NBC News. By Jon Schuppe. Once banned, these assault rifles are hugely popular in the U. June 14, Growth and backlash This new generation of gun owners, who show off their accessorized rifles on social media — and often seek sponsorship deals with manufacturers — are a reflection of how conventional the AR has become. Related: Assault Weapons Not Protected by Second Amendment, Federal Appeals Court Rules Gun industry surveys assert that the typical AR owner is a married man over 35 , with a large proportion having served in the military or law enforcement.
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