ar15 trigger AR-15 safe fire
(Dan Z. for TTAG)
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Why so many mass shootings with AR-15s? Well first off, I care about all mass killings, not just the subset of shootings. I care about the Nice, France truck attack (86 killed), and the GermanWings suicide attack (149 killed), the Berlin Christmas Market Truck Attack (12 killed, 56 injured), the Manchester Stadium bombing (22 killed, 1000+ injured), the Boston Marathon bombing (3 killed 250+ injured), the Oklahoma City bombing (168 killed), and the Boise stabbing (3yo killed, 8 injured including 5 kids), and the Kunming stabbing (27 killed), and I care about shootings that occur even in places with strict regulations like the Charlie Hebdo attack in France, the Oslo Norway attack, and the Thalys train attack.

Even with that context, it is still worth understanding why AR-15s come up so much in US mass shootings: they’re popular. And even if you banned them all today, they would still be popular… there are 10ish million in circulation. If someone wants more than a handgun, and less than a big, heavy rifle, they are probably going to grab an AR-15 variant.

So what if we had a ban? It turns out, we already tried that. From 1994-2004, we had an “Assault Weapons Ban” which specifically targeted the AR-15 by trying to call out AR-15ie features like “a grip” a “flash hider” and a “bayonet lug.” Why do I need a bayonet lug? I don’t know, but can you explain to me why you need to take it away?

So we have 10 years of data on how a national ban works. How do you think it worked? It is tough to prove causation, but I haven’t seen anyone even make a reasonably believable case it did anything at all.

— Jim in Words Mean Things: Grown Up Talk about the AR-15



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  1. The reason it might work this time (or the next) is because every decade or so we have that many more stupid people in the country! Eventually they’ll outnumber the people who possess critical thinking abilities.

      • Both. More stupid because they don’t teach in schools these days. Less Americans, well, that does not matter as non-Americans, dead Americans and fictitious Americans can vote in our elections anyway.

        • It’s a statistical error.

          We have more people so of course there are more stupid people… but, that’s only because there’s more people. We also have more “not stupid” people. If we did not the firearms sales would not be at a record high.

          I wouldn’t be so quick to give up on our youth yet, once one understands what it means to truly be free, it’s a very hard bond to break.

          If it was so easy to brainwash everyone into submission the left would have won already, instead they are finding it an extremely challenging fight. So why is that?

    • They are called sheeple or serfs, as the Globalists are turning the clock back to the middle age era of serfdoms. ANTIFA really don’t know, as they are so dumbed downed and cockled, that they are working for the New World Order comprised of corporate fascist, central banks and don’t forget, Lucifer himself! The takeover of the USA started in 1872 when we were used as collateral to the Rothchild’s. Then in 1913, the people ( U.S. Gov.) loss control of our money supply as well as becoming legalized slaves. Now the Internet and social media, as well as AI, is the nail in the coffin of the Constitutional Republic known as the United States of America. Guns work well on Tyrants, but on princes and principalities, not so much.

  2. The only thing the clintoon/biden crime bill did was make honest, decent law abiding Americans jump through hoops like silly circus animals.

    You want to help stop perps like the one in CO you bring back the Firing Squad.

    If the victims in CO could be asked, “If you had a firearm would you have used it to save your life?” Of course the answer is obvious.

    Just because the victims are no longer here does not mean their right of self defense should end. It is for the living to see to it justice is served by doing what the victims would have done to save their lives. On behalf of the victims the answer is a Firing Squad. A Firing Squad is what you face if you commit such a heinous crime. And yes, my services are available.

    • I think a public hanging would be more dramatic.
      or Frogem
      (stck a big firecracker up their a$$)
      Naw, thatd be cruel and amusing punishment.

      • Firecracker?

        How about a *cannon*… :

        “Once the cannon was invented it was only a matter of time before someone tied a prisoner to the front and lit a fuse, blowing his body into a constellation of pain, the head dropping neatly in front. Blowing from a gun was a reported means of execution as long ago as the 16th century, by the Mughal Empire, and was used until the 20th century. The method was utilized by Portuguese colonialists in the 16th and 17th centuries, from as early as 1509 across their empire from Ceylon (modern-day Sri Lanka) to Mozambique to Brazil.

        George Carter Stent described the process as follows: “The prisoner is generally tied to a gun with the upper part of the small of his back resting against the muzzle. When the gun is fired, his head is seen to go straight up into the air some forty or fifty feet; the arms fly off right and left, high up in the air, and fall at, perhaps, a hundred yards distance; the legs drop to the ground beneath the muzzle of the gun; and the body is literally blown away altogether, not a vestige being seen”.

    • Whatever the punishment, make it happen within an hour of conviction. Personally, I would prefer two doors for the prisoner to exit the courtroom. One for an innocent man to leave the building and the other door entering a vertical glass tube containing a military grade laser that vaporizes them publicly and instantly before anyone else is allowed to leave the courtroom. No appeals, no further cost to the public.

      • That’s entertaining and all to think about, but your idea is subjective. How long until POTG or just people who don’t go with liberal thinking, are the ones led into that court room.

        • If you allow yourself to be arrested, you takes your chances, no? I am not planning to be “led in”.

    • I don’t know that the Boulder victims would have said ” Yes” to having a gun. Boulder is the Tutti Frutti Nutjob Commiecrat bastion of the State. The whole Lefturd movement that turned Colorado into Commierado, began in Boulder.

  3. It worked exactly how they intended by keeping Americans unarmed and poorly armed against tyranny.

    Then it backfired horribly when it expired and a few years later Obama started making noise about banning them again.

    Myself and millions others like me that had come of age during the ban decided if the government wanted to ban something, then we best get while the getting was good. So we did.

    So thank you to the previous generation that fought for the sunset provision and protected our 2a rights another generation. While it may seem as the gun control side is winning sometimes, they are not. We will pass this right down.

    • Cooter, it didn’t even do that. Before the ink was dry the name of the AR-15 was changed to the “Sporter”, defeating the (really stupid) ban of the named rifle-just change the name! They were too smart for that, identifying evils were also included in the bill, notably a flash suppressor and a bayonet lug, which was an integral part of the molded front sight/gas port assembly. After intense study for about 15 seconds, manufacturers ceased installing flash suppressors and used a grinder to remove the bayonet lug from the front sight assembly, and kept right on selling the same guns. I’m certain a stupider law has been passed, just not sure when.

      • Well, we’re about to see the Democrats try to top it. And not just with guns, either. They’ve got a whole raft of laws that go beyond stupid to outright insane, and they’re just itching to try them all out.

      • To the Democrats removing those “features” was a loophole, even though it was fully complying with the law.

        • Although I was waiting patiently, they never did explain how many people had died from bayoneting in the past x years, nor were there exceptions for barrels other than 14.5″ or 20″, the only lengths which a bayonet can be mounted on. ALL had the same mount, since it was also the front sight and the gas port, but most barrels on ARs were 16″, bayonet no workee.

  4. How about a Glock with a hi count magazine a ten in barrel and a pistol brace, thatd make a cheap SBR type gunm.

  5. All of this ‘facts’ and ‘logic’ mean fuck-all when dealing with Leftist scum.

    If they can get the votes, they will whip up the emotion, and they will do it…

  6. The 94 ban only accomplished one thing, and that was skyrocketing the value of all standard-cap mags in circulation at the time

    • It sure did, min wage at $3.25, AR’s $1,200 -$1,600 but at least you could walk in Walmart and buy a box of bullets. Somthings fishy with this ammunition shortage.

  7. Cue the progressive motto: tHiS tImE iT wIlL bE dIfR’nT

    Why not? They’re hell bent on trying segregation, scapegoating and book burnings again.
    A new, progressive and inclusive witch hunt.

  8. Whether it “works” or not is irrelevant. We have a constitutionally protected natural right to keep and bear the kind of arms most relevant and useful for combat against other human beings. It’s not a question of “if it works, then it’s okay”. It’s never okay. It’s never acceptable. It’s never legal.

    • Ark,

      “Whether it “works” or not is irrelevant.”

      Your claim is valid in another direction as well: Progressives want to outlaw firearms simply because they want to. Whether or not outlawing firearms reduces violent crime does not matter to them because they simply say that it is the right thing to do. Oh, and then there is the fact that the real reason they want to disarm us is so that they can rule with an iron first.

  9. I recall that rifles account for about 25% of mass shooting deaths; semi auto files are used in roughly the percent of incidents.
    The Virginia Tech incident was 2 handguns, one a .22, and saw 33 deaths; why so many, because of how long it went on.
    Las Vegas incident had 59 deaths, why so many, because of how long it went on.
    The number of dead is not a function of the weapon but of how soon the shooter is stopped.

    • This is all part of the intentional propaganda. You define “mass shootings” a certain way, you define “children” a certain way, you blast images and videos of white terrorists with machine guns mowing down innocents and then say “we had over 300+ mass shootings”, we need to get these weapons of war off the streets, now in your head when someone says mass shooting you picture Columbine, Parkland, or Sandy Hook. And the instant overwhelming response is a consistent message, we need an assault weapons ban and background checks, even if it doesn’t even fit the particular scenario, just push those because eventually people wear down and say fine, sure, let’s try it, stop the screaming, I guess we need to do something… Them they can circle back and incrementally attack the next part that seems “reasonable”, the goal is just moving things each bit, add red flags, ban bump stocks, prohibit certain people, delay a background check, each little part isn’t so bad on its own right?

  10. I agree with with D.B. Cooper.

    At some point, the law of averages take over. As more AR15’s exist, their use becomes more likely. We will see them at the range more just as they will be used in crimes more. This is basic math.

    As has been said, the left does not care about facts or the truth. There will be no discussion or reasoning in take place. This is all just part of the mental disorder that is liberalism. We might be on the cusp over another evolutionary step in human development. We will either capitulate or advance as a species. Our technology is certainly pushing this. I truly believe humanity must rid itself of communism, socialism, progressivism, etc. before that advancement can occur. Having such high levels of drug addicted low IQ types hold us back as well. We cannot reach the next step without a painful fight with so many hate filled people who see no value in human life trying to force us backward by centuries.

  11. Well, this is the end result of the 1965 Hart Cellar immigration act. As America changes from a people-of-European-descent majority country, to a brown one, republicans will never win election again. Just as different breeds of dogs exhibit different temperaments, so do different races of humans. As the founding stock of America fails to reproduce, through a society structurally hostile to family formation- they will be further diluted through immigration. Any dissent will be stamped out through public schooling, sociology departments, hostile-foreign-tribe controlled media, and HR womyns.

    Even this blog seems to constantly attack the NRA. I know Wayne’s suits, and the cronyism… but is destroying the NRA ultimately hood for us gun owners? I don’t know. (I don’t give them any more money, myself.) TTAG also seems to promote the idea that the authors of the 2A intended for black people to own guns, while they owned slaves themselves. I believe in the genius of our founding fathers.

    Without being honest about was is behind all of these changes, bye bye guns.

      • I guess I am. And you know what? I don’t care. I don’t have to make rube-Goldberg-machine-style arguments to avoid tripping over the simplest of all explanations.

        The left defines what racism is- and what was progressive thinking in the 80s, is a hate crime now.

        I refuse to cede to the gun grabbers the authority to define morality. I don’t care about being called the “r word” anymore.

    • Woke Brah,

      Genetic lineage and skin tone (e.g. how “white”, “brown”, or “black” you are) do not cause people to be enemies of responsibility, liberty, inalienable rights, and the U.S. Constitution. Human nature and culture causes people to oppose them.

      Note that your love-interest — the masses in Europe — are arguably more opposed to responsibility, liberty, inalienable rights, and the principles in the U.S. Constitution than many “brown” and “black” people from all corners of the globe.

    • If you believe in the genius of the Founding Fathers, you should accept that their decision *not* to codify the denial of rights to certain races or classes in the constitution of their new nation was deliberate and inspired. If they thought it proper for this country to deny rights to black or brown people forever, they would’ve said so — but they didn’t.

    • I see no reason for denying firearms to blacks.

      I see every reason to deny them to those of any race that prooves themselves as having no regard for human life.

      The NRA might have been at one time a proper organization to be part of. I see no reason at this time to give them my money or my membership. I will allow for the possibility that this might change. But I have doubts. I am however a member of three other orgs.

  12. It didn’t fail because it wasn’t designed to enhance safety. It was an example of political grandstanding.

    It’s failure was that it made the AR15 and semi-auto rifles in general very popular during and after its reign.

  13. “Why do I need a bayonet lug? I don’t know, but can you explain to me why you need to take it away?”

    Without the lug your bayonet will fall off. Ammo costs too much. Bayonets are reusable.

  14. Whenever some idiot points to the 1994 Gun Ban and makes the claim it had any effect, I’ve always used one word to shut them up.


  15. The Columbine High School shooting happened in April 1999, about 5 years IN to the Assault Weapons ban.

    Not only that- BUT the killers were underage and Eric Harris used 10 round magazines. Oh- neither used an AR15 or any .223 rifle.

    Nevermind- AR’s are EVIL and a ban will save Christmas!

    • The guns were bought by the girlfriend of one of the shooters because she was old enough to make the purchases. Did she get charged for straw purchase and being an accessory to the crime?

      • I don’t know if that is a serious question, but the answer is”no, it was held that the poor girl suffered enough at the loss of her love interest.” She was not prosecuted for anything, went on about her life. Making the laws you reference a total joke.

  16. Let us face it, we are all racist. We are all affected by how and who brought us up. If we came from a white family, we see that as normal and right. If we came from a mixed race family, we see that as normal, if most of our peers are also mixed race. If we were raised by a single mother and have a father of a different race, we could have issues about that. I am white, grew up in a mostly black area. I remember the kids down the street, the father was black, played with Jackie Robinson in the Negro Leagues and married a white woman in the late 40s. They had a 60th anniversary, much love in that house with a bunch of kids. But, those kids ate shit everyday because they were different. Many of the kids around were mixed race, but the fact that both parents were there and made a home for them made them different.
    That is how racism works, it is not only inherent in white families, everyone wants to be higher in the pecking order and they will use any means necessary to climb that ladder.

  17. Facts do not matter. The purpose of assault weapons ban is to disarm gun owners. It has nothing to do with preventing crimnals.

  18. “…why AR-15s come up so much in US mass shootings: they’re popular….”


    The general popularity of the rifle has nothing to do with how frequently it’s used in mass murders. Most of the murderers aren’t “gun guys,” they didn’t draw on their vast amount of expertise and experience with firearms in picking their weapon, … they just bought the gun the press told them to.

    The MSM won’t shut up about how the AR-15 is the mass murderer’s weapon of choice.

    And that’s why it is commonly used in mass murders.

    • At one time the spree killer (or school shooter) weapon of choice was the Ruger Mini-14 or AK47.

  19. All a gun ban will accomplish is a disarmed populace for a corrupt dictatorship to conquer and enslave!
    Nazi Germany, Communist Russia and China disarmed the public, rounded up the undesirables and either imprisoned or murdered them by the millions in the 20th Century!
    Never, EVER give up your guns!!!

  20. Everyone everywhere on every gun website keeps using the democrat invented term “assault weapon/rifle. Now even Ammoland does it.

    PLEASE! Wake up, there is no such firearm. They are referred to as :semi auto , fully auto and select fire rifles/weapons.
    Please stop helping the democommies make our firearms sound scary.
    refer to our weapons by their proper names. AR does NOT stand for “assault rifle”.
    And remember..Friends don’t let friends call semi auto firearms “assault weapons”

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