What is an AR-15?
An AR-15 is 5.56mm semi-automatic rifle that is fed by a magazine and uses gas operation to discharge the empty cartridge and reload the new bullet. There are multiple sizes of the rifle depending on the manufacturer, and there are a number of add-on items that come along with the rifle. Some of these add-on items are regulated in the United States, and the sale of the rifle is heavily regulated in some states as well.
The rifle was originally designed for U.S. military for the following reasons:
· the rifle is lightweight and easy to manufactur
· the rifle allows for a high velocity round and is easily adapted for other rounds
· the design allows for a large amount of add-on features
· fires accurately and reloads quickly because of gas piston system
· is capable of firing a large magazine
· the gun comes with a butt stock and a pistol grip for more control
Recent Controversy over AR-15
The gun was used by James Eagan Holmes during the pseudo-commando mass shooting at the Century move theater in Aurora, Colorado on July 20, 2012. Holmes dressed in tactical clothing and set off tear gas during the midnight screening of the film The Dark Knight Rises. He killed 12 people and injured 58 more people. He used Smith & Wesson’s stile of the AR-15 called an M&P15, and he also used a 12-gauge shotgun and Glock 22 handgun.
Regulation of the AR-15
There is not federal law that controls the use of the rifle. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which incorporated the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, banned the manufacturing and importing of the rifle along with other assault rifles, but the ban ended in 2004. The regulation of the rifle is now left up to the states, and several state regulations are described below:
Penal Code section 12276 subdivisions (e) and (f) made it unlawful to sell an AK or AR-15 series rifle after August 16, 2000 in the state of California. Certain features of the weapon may be removed to declassify it as an assault weapon, but it’s still illegal to sell in California. It is legal to possess the weapon in California if it was possessed before December 31, 1999 and registered with the state before December 31, 2000.
People who owned the rifle were required to register the weapon with the Department of Justice by January 23, 2001. It is illegal to pawn the rifle or inherit the rifle in California as well. Additionally, you cannot leave the assault rifle at a gunsmith unless they hold a California Assault Weapons permit.
In January of 2007, the Denver City Council passed a law that modified the city’s assault weapon ban. It is legal to own an AR-15 or other assault rifles if they do not contain a magazine with 21 or more rounds.
Other states have regulations for the assault rifle as well.