Like so many other mass shootings the gunman who opened fire inside a Parkland, Florida high school used the AR-15 as his weapon of choice.
The Parkland shooting was the seventh mass shooting, within the past six years, in which an AR-15 was used; including Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, Pulse nightclub in Orlando and more recently the Texas church shooting.
The same weapon that took so many innocent lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is the same firearm the National Rifle Association calls the most popular rifle in America.
According to authorities, Nikolas Cruz [the 19-year-old shooter] legally obtained the AR-15 on his own from a Florida gun shop.
Under federal law, you must be 21 years old to buy a handgun, but you only have to be 18 to get a semi-automatic rifle. With a simple background check, a young adult like Cruz can walk out of a store with an assault weapon within minutes.
WAAY 31 spoke with a local gun shop owner about the growing appeal of the AR – 15 and was told that the former military weapon has soared in popularity, because it’s affordable, customizable and powerful; letting off as many as 30 rounds in one magazine. This is a plus for hunting enthusiasts, but also devastating if placed in the wrong hands.
Currently, only 7 states and the District of Columbia have bans and regulations on assault weapons, but Alabama and Florida do not.
According to the NRA, over 8-million AR-15s have already been bought nationwide.