“A Columbia police officer reported March 13 that he found part of an AR-15 assault rifle and six 40-bullet banana-style ammo clips in Roof’s car during a routine encounter in a downtown Columbia park,” thestate.com reports. “Roof told the officer he wanted to buy an AR-15.” That revelation brought out the “assault rifle” hand-wringers in droves . . .
“That’s scary. We ought to be thankful he never got his hands an AR-15,” said former U.S. Attorney and State Law Enforcement Division director Reggie Lloyd, now an attorney in private practice.
An AR-15 is the semi-automatic civilian version of the U.S. military’s M16 fully automatic assault rifle.
Such a weapon, loaded with a 40-bullet ammo clip, could allow someone to shoot several dozen people without reloading and from a greater distance than the .45 Glock handgun Roof is accused of using in the June 17 church killings.
Assault rifles are designed to inflict maximum damage on a maximum number of people in a brief time. The AR-15 is known for its high-velocity rounds that spin upon entering a human body, wreaking havoc in muscle and tissue.
“Roof wanted even more ability to kill than he had,” said Rep. Joe Neal, D-Richland, a longtime member of the S.C. House. “This suggests to me that if he had had access to a more powerful weapon, he would have killed a lot more people.”
State NAACP president Lonnie Randolph agreed. “This is frightening,” he said of the report. Clearly, Roof was thinking of killing more people, he said.
Roof, then 20, was not charged with a crime because it’s not illegal to possess a forearm grip of an AR-15.
Yet. Regardless of the anti-AR rhetoric, we know that Roof “cased” the Columbiana Center Mall before heading to the Emanuel AME Church to commit his heinous crime. He probably chose the church to specifically target blacks. Or it might have had something to do with the fact that the Columbiana Mall had increased armed security earlier this year after a series of armed robberies.
In any event, Roof’s attack reminds us to remain vigilant at all times, everywhere. Preferably while carrying a gun.