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At the risk of seeming insensitive, the Clackamas Mall shooting didn’t rack-up a high enough body count to dominate an extremely busy news cycle. Not with the political tussling on the edge of the fiscal cliff, the carnage created by the Arab [spring into] fall in Syria, the brawls over Michigan’s Right to Work legislation and North Korea’s high-flying nuclear ambitions. Not to mention the fact that NBC sportscaster Bob Costas’ half-baked half-time pro-gun control rant had already soaked up all the notable quotables in the gun “debate.” Despite the fact that Jacob Roberts “could have killed Santa Claus” with an “assault rifle,” Clackamas is fading from view. But not before the gun control industry gets a few good kicks in . . .

The Media Wing of the “You Can’t Touch That” lobby has one of its members embedded inside the Forbes conglomerate. Adam Brown has penned an anti-gun article cleverly disguised as a business piece: Type Of Rifle In Oregon Mall Shooting Drives Gun Profits And Youth Interest.

The horrific episode underscores several important elements about today’s gun business. The rifle model used by Jacob Tyler Roberts—the 22-year-old cited in numerous media reports as the killer—was an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. If you’ve watched Deer Hunter or Full Metal Jacket, or, hell, any movie about the military in the past five decades, you’ve seen what inspired the design of the AR-15: the field weapon issued to infantrymen. Significantly, those combat weapons are automatic. You need only hold the trigger to fire the bullets. An AR-15 is semiautomatic. With that weapon, you must press the trigger each time.

Whatup with using spree killers’ middle names? Anyway, can you sense what’s about to happen here? Neither could I; not after mentally hat tipping Brown for explaining the difference between a machine gun and a semi-automatic modern black home defense sporting rifle. Not that it’s that important.

Gun companies today make the AR-15 in that style because it evokes the toughness and cunning of a green beret. Who wouldn’t want to feel like a backyard John Wayne? The attraction is undeniable. Only a year Robert’s elder, I felt it when visiting the factory of Sturm, Ruger—America’s largest gunmaker and No. 4 on our Best Small Companies list—and handled such a weapon.

All that’s needed there: a quote from Bob Costas about “America’s dangerous gun culture.” I guess the fact that AR’s are reliable, ergonomically sound, accurate, cheap to buy, cheap to run, easily customized, fun and durable’s got nothing to do with it. It’s all about John Wayne [not Gacey].

Hey Brown, do you think guys yours and Roberts’ age even know who the Duke is? Just askin’ . . .

Ruger CEO Mike Fifer told me that those military-style weapons—called modern sporting rifles in an effort to apply more neutral branding—are meant for ex-serviceman. The closely held Freedom Group, which is the nation’s leader in long guns, is not as tight lipped about why these weapons are made and who they’re made for: “We believe the adoption of the modern sporting rifle has led to increased long-term growth in the long gun market while attracting a younger generation of shooters. We anticipate a renewed interest in the outdoors driving increased participation in hunting and target shooting.” Those were the (now) eerie words included in a recent annual report to Freedom Group shareholders.

We’ve given the Freedom Group plenty of stick over time, but how does the Clackamas shooting reflect on the ballistic Borg in any way, shape or form? The boilerplate PR statement may be as bland as INSERT BRITISH FOOD ITEM HERE, but it’s spot on (as the Brits are wont to say).

While Robert’s rampage is a chilling sign about who might be attracted to an AR-15, gun enthusiasts should rest relatively easy. He didn’t buy it, apparently. He stole it. That relieves any tension about how such an apparently deranged individual could buy such a deadly item. Obama couldn’t use him to justify stricter laws, even if he wanted too.

Well that’s a relief. In a way. Reading between the lines, Brown would like to tell Forbes readers that AR-15 buyers are paranoid fantasists whose number includes [an unspecified number of] psycho-killers. Which he does. Obliquely.

What he needs to do is get out and shoot the damn gun. A lot. Either that or stop trying to diss one of the few industries that’s made money under the anti-capitalist cloud hovering over the American economy.

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    • Bingo. Many are 1500 and up. Why I have never been able to figure out. But I guess I am a racist–they all look the same to me!

      • My PSA flattop AR was only 630 dollars a few months ago. Has everything I wanted in an AR, 1:7 twist, chromed everything that needs it, excellent trigger and even included a magpul folding rear sight.

        Its not a colt, but its solid, accurate and was a good price. That was 630, new, before tax at a local gun store. You don’t have to spend 900 on an AR.

        • Lord_Platypus is right, the PSA (Palmetto State Armory) is a great, inexpensive AR. I got mine with a Vortex Strikefire red/green dot optic for $775 (before taxes)

  1. He could have condensed this piece of **** into this:

    AR-15s: loved by psychos


    …unless you’re making money off something I like /article

  2. Interesting you point out the three-named-killer phenomenon. I think in the movie Conspiracy Theory, it is suggested that everyone would have known John Hinckley’s middle name had he succeeded in assassinating Reagan.

    • One hypothesis that I’ve heard that sounded plausible to me is that by using their full and complete name, you’re reducing the chances of tarring other similarly named people with the association of a heinous act. So there may be various Jacob Roberts in the greater Portland area, but there will be fewer Jacob Tyler Roberts. If a John Smith goes out and shoots up a Starbucks, if the news just said John Smith, that leaves a lot of people wondering “WTF? Is that the John Smith I know?” If they say John Howard Smith of Sunnydale Lane, then that leaves a lot less room for doubt and confusion.

  3. I’m curious about this line:

    “Ruger CEO Mike Fifer told me that those military-style weapons—called modern sporting rifles in an effort to apply more neutral branding—are meant for ex-serviceman.”

    I know Ruger’s had issues in the past with things like hi-cap magazines and such, and I thought they were turning that around. However, if this is an accurate quote, then I question Fifer’s position. Without some independent source, though, I don’t know whether it’s accurate or a case of context or the author “hearing what he wanted to hear.”

        • And that is why ill never ever buy a product of Ruger’s. They are no better than the anti’s or fuds telling me what I should own. To them I should only have a bolt gun and be grateful. It amazes me gun owners still support Bill “10 rounds are good enough for civilians”/selling us out on the AWB for “his rifle” Ruger’s company. And the Ruger defenders say it was only bill who was a fud well it looks like the company is keeping the legacy alive.

          I don’t even like the AR but how long did it take for Ruger to get one on the market again and that was only because every other u.s. manufacturer was making one?

    • Matt in Florida,

      Everyone who has ever watched a war movie, shot a bb gun, and played a tactical video game is now considered an ex-serviceman. Therefore, the black tactical AR15 and AK47 are for everyone! Except mikeb of course.

        • Tell me about it!

          In a six week period this summer, I met three men (separately) at WholeSale Sports who quietly told me that they are members of a federal anti-terrorism team.

          During my university years, about half of the Israeli male exchange students that I met told me they were members of an elite Israeli military unit. They were all commandos (eyes rolling over here).

  4. Now all those under 30 years aspiring young businessmen and women who read Forbes will go out this weekend and buy an AR15 semi-auto. My thanks to the mass media and Hollywood. If it wasn’t for their anti-gun messaging constantly back-firing there would be far less gun owners in America.

  5. I watched FNS today and there was a foaming at the mouth anti-gunner trotting out mis-labeled anti-gun tropes “Military Assualt Rifles designed to kill millions” ad nauseum. The lap-Dancer-Turned-Legalist was spewing her memorized rant and every droplet of bile turned the undecided away from her positiion (I hope).

  6. “…the AR-15: the field weapon issued to infantrymen. Significantly, those combat weapons are automatic.”

    I like the way he feels the need to add words like field and combat to the word weapon, somehow making the weapon seem even more dangerous than normal non-field, non-combat weapons. I was in the Army for 6 years, and I don’t recall having a FIELD weapon or a COMBAT weapon as opposed to you know, a normal GARRISON weapon or maybe a nice PEACE KEEPING weapon. I guess that’s the kind of stuff you learn in journalism school.

  7. I look at it this way. Every year I sort of keep a mental tally of “innocent people killed by maniacs.” Things like this, the theatre shooting, the WI Spa and Sikh shootings, etc. It’s a rare year where that tally gets above 60. Why is 60 important? It’s the number of people who die due to lightning in the US every year (on average).

    When was the last time you saw a news report on that horrible killer, lightning? People living in fear in their homes that they might get hit by lightning AT ANY MOMENT!

  8. “Whatup with using spree killers’ middle names?”

    To protect the innocent – so you’re not saying the name of some poor random dude who just happens to live in the same town.

  9. Three names just sounds scarier. Robert Johnson Farago just sounds like a derranged mad man on the edge doesn’t it?

    Challenge: name any US military weapon that was used in great numbers that has a civlilian legal version that DIDN’T become insanely popular with civilians? From the lever action Winchesters right up to the present day, military weapons are popular. They’re known to work well and a great number of people are already familiar with them.

  10. Seems to me more people need to come over to the AK side of the family.
    No “crazy spree killers” here, just frugal, religiously devoted freedom fighters, equality concerned socially-minded countries, and proactive community organizers who use their field weapons to selflessly stem the oppression brought on by insidious capitalism. Nothing at all like the evil black John Wayne murder rifles that Forbes describes.
    Heh, yeah. I took a journalism class too, once.

  11. Dont matter the killer could have used a revolver of sling shot and the Idots on local news like Kelly Day would have called it a AK-47 or M-16 or AR-15. I went threw a 1/2 hour of antigun crap KOIN 6 spewed out yesterday. Now the Hag of Portland wants a state ban on all mags with regular capacity (over 10 rds). Strange the kill shot all 3 victims with 7 rounds eye witnesses said so no mag ban would have stopped that.

    Overall gun owner again must stay together and fight back against idiots in Salem OR and the liberal news.

    Ban something ugly ban Kelly Day!

  12. Am I the only one who cringes a little when I hear someone use the term semi-automatic modern black home defense sporting rifle?

  13. The AR15/10 is the best rifle ever – period, and I include the AKs in the runner ups (s0 sue me). It can do everything. Here is a rifle that is infinitely customizable. With different uppers you have different rifles in different calibers. It is reasonably priced. And it is very accurate. Custom parts are everywhere. The rifle is an industry just by itself. An all American industry.

    There is no other rifle like it. And it’s not going anywhere soon, as much as the gun grabbers would want it to disappear.

    • I can only imagine what the Native Americans have been saying about all of the whites and other migrants who have muscled their way into their Oregon since the 1800s.

        • True. Just imagine the stories we would hear if the dead could speak about the massacres and genocides committed by the white settlers and their offspring against the Native Americans.

        • they would say something about genocide…

          i wouldnt know, i was educated through a public school system. /sarc off. 😉

  14. Im making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do, Great70Dotcom

  15. There is no need for a citizen to own a weapon like this… unless you happen to have riots,tornados,floods,gangs,etc etc. Sometimes more than one model citizen needs to be taken out at a time. I keep thinking about the truck driver during MLK riots who was forced over(didn’t want to keep going & kill anyone). He was beat till he lost a lot of brain capacity. Thats!!! why Ar’s are needed. Nothing anyone here didn’t know, Randy

  16. “Deer Hunter” and Full Metal Jacket” inspired the AR? In one of the movies I remember a revolver being the star of the show (a player in a VERY nasty game to play….at too close range). The other gun was desired more than a “teenage beauty queen”, and according to the crazy chubby dude, fired “seven point six two millimeter” (and it ventilated the toughest and scariest marine instructor on earth…not to mention the creepy chubby dude).


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