‘Gun of choice’ used in Orlando, Newtown, Aurora, San Bernardino
The AR-15 is the kind of gun used in numerous mass shootings, including the one in Orlando.
The AR-15 is the most popular rifle in the U.S.; there are an estimated 9 million in circulation as of 2014.
It was also the gun of choice for the massacres in San Bernardino, California, where 16 people at a holiday party were gunned down, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 26 children and staffers were murdered, and at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, where twelve were killed.
The rifle is a favorite in part because it’s highly customizable, the NRA blog notes. It also accommodates high capacity magazines that can fire off 100 rounds or more within minutes.
Another contributing factor to its popularity is the gun lobby’s fearmongering after every mass shooting. Though the federal government has never attempted to mass-confiscate guns, the NRA and other groups often warn that the government will respond to each shooting by cracking down. As a result, assault rifle sales skyrocket in the wake of each attack.