Why focusing on AR-15s for mass shootings is dumb

AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

In the wake of Louisville, we are once against finding ourselves having to talk about the AR-15. Once again, anti-gun forces are focusing on this particular rifle to advance their gun control agenda. In their minds, if we banned this gun, mass shootings will just…I don’t know, evaporate away.


Yet as the Heritage Foundation’s Amy Swearer noted on Twitter earlier this week, mass shootings don’t need a so-called assault weapon, just someone interested in killing people.


I suggest you go and look at the whole thread because as Swearer notes, there are a lot of mass murders where the killers didn’t use an AR-15 or even something that required a “high-capacity” magazine. Kind of like this one:

Yet no Twitter thread would be comprehensive.

For example, Louisville is basically a workplace shooting. It’s a problem, we’re told, because the killer had an AR-15.

However, the worst workplace shooting in US history claimed 14 lives back in 1986 with a killer who used two handguns.

Nashville, a school shooting, was undeniably an awful tragedy. However, the worst school shooting in American history remains Virginia Tech where, again, the killer used two handguns.

All this focus on the AR-15 isn’t because there’s something especially demonic about that firearm. As Swearer points out, we’ve had mass shootings for ages before the AR-15 was even invented. Many of which had a body count higher than some of those using modern sporting rifles.


So what’s really the common denominator? People.

At the heart of things is always a broken person, someone who seems to believe their despair and rage should result in them taking as many human lives as they can, all in some bizarre and evil cry for attention.

No matter what weapons you restrict, you cannot and will not prevent these horrific acts from happening. New York’s SAFE Act which restricted AR-15s, for example, failed to prevent the Buffalo killer from killing innocent people just trying to do some grocery shopping.

These incidents of the past need to be brought up and they need to be harped on repeatedly. People need to understand that it’s not the tool but the tool using it. It’s always been about the person pulling the trigger and not what the trigger is attached to.

Demonizing AR-15s allows some to pretend there’s a simple solution to a problem that goes way back.

Now, I get that the problem seems to be growing. I won’t dispute that in the least.

However, that doesn’t mean the issue is now a weapon that’s been on the civilian market for six decades, yet didn’t come onto the market until well after these things started happening.


If we can finally convince people that the issue isn’t guns like the AR-15 but the people pulling the trigger, maybe we can finally start looking at the deeper issues that seem to prompt some to try and make their names synonymous with evil.

The American public deserves actual answers. The American people deserve to have us look beyond superficially scary guns and recognize what, for many, is the truly scary fact–that no gun control ever will stop these horrific events.

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