What can be done to reduce harm by AR-15s

Anya Kelley, News Editor

The company ArmaLite was founded 1954 in Hollywood, California. They received funding from the Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation which turned into Fairchild-Republic, a military aircraft manufacturer.

AR is often mistaken for an automatic or assault rifle but it’s actually short for ArmaLite. 

In 1959, ArmaLite designed the AR-15 and sold it to Colt. That’s when production began. 

Colt manufactured automatic rifles for U.S. troops during the Vietnam War. This gun, which was based on the design of the AR-15, was known as the M-16. 

In the ‘70s, Colt’s patents for the AR-15 expired, opening up the design to other manufacturers. This was about the time the gun began being marketed to the average citizen by Colt and others.

Now, America has 20 million AR-15 style rifles in circulation. 


What sets an AR-15 apart from other guns?

AR-15s can cause serious harm to the human body. Because of the high velocity of the shot and the ability to fire off rounds in rapid succession, the AR-15 has the capability to decimate the human form. 

The Washington Post interviewed Joseph Sakran, a trauma surgeon and gunshot survivor who is advocating for gun violence prevention. Sakran said a bullet shot from an AR-15 has the ability to “pulverize bones, it can shatter your liver and it can provide this blast effect.” 

Body tissue rips apart and, in some cases (especially those regarding young children), leaves human remains unrecognizable. 

ABC 7 New York says the traditional handgun causes clear entrance and exit wounds that are roughly the same size. 

Semi-automatic rifles, such as the AR-15, create wounds of different sizes while destroying the inner tissue construction. 


How could we remedy the mass shootings?

In an ideal world, I think a complete assault rifle ban would be the best choice for America. However, I know that’s extremely unlikely. 

One of the biggest problems we face right now is just how much carnage these weapons cause. The largest magazine an AR-15 can carry is a 100-round capacity drum magazine. 

With the rifle being automatically reloadable, a 100-round capacity magazine can cause massive devastation. 

Currently, only 14 states have any sort of magazine capacity restriction. For example, Colorado limits magazine capacity to 15 rounds or less.

Most of these states ban any magazines holding over 10 rounds for rifles.

Though reducing magazine capacity wouldn’t stop mass shootings, it would lower the amount of deaths and injuries. 

Also, reducing access to dangerous weapons would be a huge help. 

Right now, all you need to purchase a gun in the U.S. is a valid photo ID, confirmation of your current address and the ATF Form 4473 or Firearms Transaction Record. 

The ATF form acts as a sort of background check to make sure the individual doesn’t have a criminal record or isn’t ineligible for any other reason. 

There is a loophole in the current law that is allowing guns to get in the hands of dangerous people. 

Under federal law, only licensed dealers are required to do background checks. That means private sellers, including online and gun shows, are not being held to the same standard. 

Though individual states have started closing the loophole, federal action is needed. 

With magazine capacity limits and a more strict background check process, the U.S. could drastically reduce the number and the harm of mass shootings.