Media Dubiously Attempts To Link "Assault Rifles" To Charleston Attack

Several news organizations are attempting to claim that the racist murderer who killed nine blacks at Emanuel AME Zion Church in Charleston with a Glock G41 .45 ACP pistol only used the pistol because he couldn’t afford an AR-15.


Charleston massacre suspect D_____ R___* told a police officer he wanted to buy an AR-15 assault rifle, but couldn’t afford it.

A police report suggests the accused killer, then 20, had ammo clips and the forearm of the powerful weapon in his car when a cop found him loitering in a downtown Columbia, South Carolina, park.

He told the officer he had the parts in the vehicle because he wanted to purchase a full model, but was short on cash.

The gun is a semi-automatic civilian version of the U.S. military’s M16, has a 40-bullet clip and can fire multiple, high-velocity shots without being reloaded – meaning Roof could have caused far more bloodshed at the Emanuel AME Church last Wednesday.

Roof, who is facing nine counts of murder as a result of the shooting, was not charged with a crime because it’s not illegal to possess a forearm grip of the weapon.

According to a report obtained by The State, the officer who arrested him on drug charges at a Charleston mall two weeks earlier spotted walking around the park.

The report at The State which formed the basis of the Daily Mail report is no more coherent.

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. Roof told the officer he wanted to buy an AR-15.

“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.


Let’s try to unpack the claims made in this story.

Clearly, the media doesn’t have a clue what an “ar-15 forearm” is, because an AR-15 forearm, AKA, a handguard, is nothing more or less than a hollow metal or plastic tube through which the barrel of the firearm runs. Some are made out of high-strength metal alloys and cost hundreds of dollars, but we’re guessing that the murderer, an unemployed ninth-grade drop-out, was much more likely to have a standard handguard which costs about $20.

An AR-15 midlength handguard offered at for $18.

I’m sure that you’re cringing after reading “40-bullet clip” when no such item exists in the real world, but there are 40-round magazines for AR-15s, though they tend to be relatively rare in comparison to 20-round and 30-round magazines.

But it’s neither the description of the handguard/foreend, nor the the description of the “40-round clip” that makes me wonder about the credibility of the story.

What makes me doubt the credibility of the story is the supposed claim that the killer had enough money to buy the comapratively rare and expensive pistol that he used in the attack, but not the most common centerfire rifle sold in the United States AR-15 at a time where the market is flooded and prices are low for many models.


We know that the murderer used money given to him by his father for his birthday to purchase a Glock G41 pistol, which he was seen with in numerous photos on his web site.

I looked at this morning (which facilitates transfers from one federal licensed gun deal to another, and where background checks are mandatory) and noted the current price of the Glock G41, the kind of handgun the killer used in his attack.

GunBroker is an auction-based site and so there is some natural and sometimes absurd variation in price, but it’s fair to say that the pistol is typically purchased in the $600-$650 range. Bud’s Gun Shop has them in stock at $635.

Gunbroker also has listings for AR-15s.

While high-end AR-15s are still going to cost $1,000 and up, it is easy to find AR-15s for the same rough price as the G41 chosen by the killer, and you can find entry-level Ar-15 variants that are cheaper than the G41. Once again, Bud’s Gun Shop confirms that entry-level AR-15s can be had for more than $100 less than the the G41 the killer purchased.

The claim made by the single anonymous police source that the killer couldn’t afford a $550 Ar-15, but that he could afford a $650 pistol, doesn’t seem to hold up.


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