Orlando Shooter Used Same Weapon as Past Mass-Shooters: The AR-15

By Jim Liao
Jim Liao
Jim Liao
June 12, 2016 Updated: June 17, 2016

Visit here for full coverage of the Orlando mass shooting.

UPDATE: Officials said that the weapon used in the attack was a Sig Sauer MCX assault-style rifle instead of the AR-15.

Investigators are starting to piece together information regarding weaponry used in mass shootings of late.

Orlando police said Omar Mateen—the gunman that killed over 50 people at Pulse, a gay nightclub, in Orlando, Fla., in the early hours of Sunday morning—carried out the killings using an AR-15-type assault rifle.

This is the same weapon used by gunman Adam Sanza in the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting that killed 26 people, including 20 children.

Similarly, James Eagan Holmes used an AR-15 in the 2012 Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting that killed 12 and injured 58. 

The AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle that looks like a military weapon, but is advocated by the National Rifle Association as being customized for hunting and sports shooting rather than assault.

The significance of the AR-15 rifle in the wake of the mass shooting lies in its prevalence and ease in obtaining one. According to the Telegraph, it is the country’s most popular rifle and is owned by 3.7 million American households. The gun is legal for purchase in most states in the United States, including Florida.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), confirmed on Sunday that the shooter had a .223 caliber AR type rifle and a 9mm semiautomatic pistol.

The ATF said, “We have completed urgent traces on firearms involved in Orlando shooting. Firearms purchased legally.”

Orlando police retweeted the ATF, saying, “The gunman legally purchased the firearms within the last week. In Florida.”

The shooting has again raised the debate regarding gun laws and how accessible guns should be to the public. 

And from the opposite viewpoint:

Visit here for full coverage of the Orlando mass shooting.

Jim Liao
Jim Liao