A dispute has emerged on the web between conservative bloggers and the press and liberal bloggers over whether the Orlando shooter, who murdered 49 at the gay nightclub Pulse, used an AR-15 or not.
Bombs and Dollars dug into the controversy, and this is what we found:
Liberals have argued that the attack—the shooting—caused such a high death toll due to the easy availability of high-powered guns, especially those referred to as “assault rifles.” In particular, many outlets are reporting that the shooter used an AR-15, a rifle that is among those Democrats have tried to ban through a failed assault weapons bill.
5.) Did the shooter use an AR-15?
This is perhaps the biggest and most mysterious contention between liberal advocates of gun control and conservative opponents of gun control. After many mass shootings, it is reported that an AR-15 was used, and conservatives write that an AR-15 wasn’t used.
The Washington Post reports that the shooter used an AR-15, the same gun that has also been used in the shootings at San Bernardino, Calif.; Aurora, Colo.; and Newtown, Conn. The gun rights blog Bearing Arms reported, however, that the weapon was a Sig Sauer MCX carbine.
The Sig Saucer’s brochure notes that the MCX carbine has an “AR-15 Type” mag type.
The Orlando police were also quoted as reporting that a Sig Saucer MCX was found on the shooter’s person, and there was no mention of an AR-15:
He had a Glock 17 handgun purchased on June 5, a Sigsauer MCX assault rifle purchased on June 4 on his person during the shootout, and investigators later found a .38-caliber weapon in his vehicle.
The dispute between what to call the gun could be due to the fact that AR-15 is now, like “kleenex” and “xerox,” a brand name that is used by many as a generic term for a series of similar guns. According to Rolling Stone,
Mateen carried two guns with him Sunday: a 9mm handgun and a .223 caliber AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle. [Editor’s note: Note the use of “-style.”]
The standard magazine for a Glock, like the one Mateen carried, is 15 rounds. The Sig Sauer MCX rifle Mateen used had double that capacity: 30 rounds.
AR stands for “ArmaLite rifle,” after the company the developed the gun for use by the U.S. military in the 1950s. (The military’s version, nearly indistinguishable from the AR-15, is called the M-16.) Today Colt holds the AR-15 trademark, but some 282 manufacturers make their own versions of the gun and its parts, according to a 2014 accounting by AR-15 enthusiasts.
Think Progress, a liberal blog, also referred to the gun in the same way as Rolling Stone: as “an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle.”
If Congress tries to pass an assault weapons ban, the definition of what specific guns are being banned will be a sticking point, and there will be dispute as to what guns should be classes as such.
The question over the AR-15 is just one of 8 questions Bombs and Dollars looked at in relation to the terrorist attack and what could be done to stop such attacks in the future. Read the whole post here: 8 questions to ask after Orlando attack before demanding new policies.