Inside the rise of AR-15-style rifles in America

Inside the rise of AR-15-style rifles in America

This report is a part of “Rethinking Gun Violence,” an ABC News series examining the level of gun violence in the U.S. — and what can be done about it. Alex Schachter, a 14-year-old marching band member gunned down in the Parkland, Florida , mass shooting, would have graduated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School this year. “All of Alex’s friends were able to walk across that stage,” his father, Max Schachter, told ABC News. “Since Alex wasn’t there, I did it and collected his posthumous diploma. It’s sad watching all of these kids go off and go to college and do everything that I hoped that Alex would do.” The accused Parkland gunman was armed with an AR-15-style rifle when he stormed into Stoneman Douglas in February 2018, killing Alex and 16 others. The United States has over 20 million AR-15-style rifles legally in circulation, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a national trade association for the firearm industry. That accounts for a small percentage of the roughly 400 million guns in the country — but the popularity of AR-15-style rifles has been growing “exponentially” ever since the federal assault weapons ban expired in 2004, said Mark Oliva, the NSSF’s public affairs director. Because AR-15-style rifles are so versatile, with the ability to add scopes and change both the length and size of the barrel, they became a desirable weapon for many Americans, especially people who like to hunt, ABC News contributor and former FBI agent Brad […]

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