A modified AR15 was just one of the 23 firearms law enforcement recovered in Las Vegas following the October mass shooting. At least 12 of those were semi–automatic rifles which had been legally modified to fire like automatic weapons. The most popular modification was the addition of a so-called ‘bump fire stock.’

While the attack on the Las Vegas strip by Stephen Paddock was the bloodiest in modern American history, assaults in the 19th and 20th centuries had larger death tolls.

Nevada has some of the laxest gun laws in the country. Machine guns can be lawfully owned if made before May 1986. Many states regulate the size of high-capacity magazines like the ones used by Paddock. Nevada isn’t one of them, and a trained shooter can quickly remove one magazine, load another and continue firing with barely an interruption.

As in most states, Nevada allows persons to openly carry long guns such as shotguns and rifles and no permit is required to do so. A person, intent on murder, could walk down the Strip with a military-style weapon over their shoulder and stay within the law.

Nevada is a “shall issue” state. Anyone qualified to possess a handgun under current state and federal laws is approved for a concealed carry permit. State legislators rolled back handgun requirements in 2015. At the time gun advocates saw the legislation as a decisive action which will save firearms owners from more paperwork.


Despite many differences, such as detachable magazines, using intermediate cartridges, the main difference is selective fire — the ability to flip a switch and move from semi-automatic to fully automatic and back. Gas powered, semi-automatic, one squeeze of the trigger sends one round down the muzzle. The American military uses weapons similar in appearance to the AR-15, but give auto-fire and three-round burst-fire. Neither can be done with an AR-15.

The AR-15 appears to be a twin to the M16 and M4 carbine assault rifles. The military spent millions to come up with an ideal gun which featured great ergonomics. But looking past the ergonomics, persons are attracted to the AR-15 because it is customizable. Users can add lasers, scopes, slings and a variety of grips. The lower portion of the weapon can be swapped out as well.

Notwithstanding similar appearances, the civilian version, the AR15, misses a critical military function.

Not A Weapon For Hunting

The AR15 is not a ‘high-powered’ rifle. Like all rifles it does have more oomph than a pistol or handgun — all rifles do. When it comes to rifles, the ammunition used is so low powered it has been banned from hunting game like deer and elk. The weapon can’t humanely take animals down in one shot like other variables. In Washington, and some other rural states, all larger game must be hunted with larger caliber ammo. That leaves the AR15 appropriate to plunk squirrels, rabbits and relegates the weapon to varmint duty.

Politicians and the news media, exaggerate the AR15’s power. They enjoy telling the public that it is almost impossible to rapid-fire an AR15.

Remember Grayson? He told CNN’s audience, “If the gunman had not been able to purchase a weapon that fires 700 rounds a minute, many of those people would not be dead.”

Grayson’s comments, on national television, were so far out in left field, a conservative commentator, Conrad Close, offered a reward of sorts.

“I’ll donate $50,000 to the charity of Grayson’s choosing if he can fire an AR15 700 times in 60-seconds,” Close tweeted on June 13, 2016.

The weapon can’t fire anywhere near 700 rounds per minute. One trigger squeeze equals one round.

AR Does Not Mean Assault Rifle

People who should know better maintain the ‘AR’ stands for ‘assault rifle.’ No, it stands for ‘Armalite Rifle,’ named for the firm which designed the gun in the 1950s.

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Seventeen innocent people in Florida were killed. People in favor of a gun ban will pull out all of the rhetorical stops to convince Americans that the carnage was possible only because of the AR15. History shows otherwise. Anyone focused on killing will come up with a way to kill.

Another look at gun control in America is needed. But proponents need to make sure their nomenclature is correct, and their facts are straight if their credibility is worth anything.