What does AR mean in AR15?

AHMAD Al Aliwi Alissa was identified as the triggerman who shot and killed 10 people at a King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, Colorado on March 22.

Court documents revealed that Alissa, 21, purchased an AR-15-style rifle less than a week before the mass shooting.

What does AR mean?

Over the years there has been misconceptions as to what "AR" stands for in AR-15, many believe it signifies "assault rifle" or "automatic rifle".

However the true meaning behind "AR" is initialed after the company that created the weapon, ArmaLite Rifle.

The AR-15 assault rifle was first developed in the late 1950s as a military rifle by ArmaLite Rifle, but had limited success in selling the gun.

In 1959, the company sold the design to Colt – a firearms manufacturing company.

For more than half a century, the AR-15 has been popular among gun owners, widely available in gun stores across the US.

Despite the popularity among gun fanatics, the AR-15 has been used in many of the nation's worst mass shootings.

Ove the years, there has been talks among lawmakers about the widespread availability of the assault rifle and how easily an individual can get their hands on it.

An AR-15 can go for less than $1,000, though they can be customized and cost in the thousands of dollars.

The National Rifle Association estimates there are some eight million AR-15s and its variations in circulation.

Has it been used in other mass shootings?

Of the last 80 mass shootings in the US – more than a quarter, including the March 22 shooting in Boulder, Colorado – involved the use of AR-15 rifles.

Accoridng to a Newsweek analysis, a semi-automatic rifle was used in 21 mass shootings over the past decade.

The first assault rifle to be used in a mass shooting came in Crandon, Wisconsin in 2007.

On October 7, 2007, Tyler James Peterson, 20, shot and killed six people and critically injured a seventh before committing suicide at a post-homecoming party inside a duplex in Crandon, Wisconsin.

Other mass shootings where AR-15 rifles were used include:

  • 2021: The Boulder, Colorado shooting
  • 2019: The Jersey City, New Jersey shooting
  • 2019: The Midland-Odessa interstate shooting in Texas
  • 2019: The Dayton shooting in Ohio
  • 2018: The Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh
  • 2018: The Waffle House shooting in Nashville
  • 2018: The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
  • 2018: The Melcroft, Pennsylvania shooting
  • 2017: The shootings at Rancho Tehama Reserve in California
  • 2017: The Sutherland Springs, Texas, church shooting

  • 2017: The Las Vegas shooting
  • 2017: The Plano, Texas, shooting
  • 2017: The Lincoln County, Mississippi, shootings
  • 2016: The Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando
  • 2015: The San Bernardino, California, attack
  • 2015: The Colorado Springs, Colorado, shooting
  • 2013: The Santa Monica, California, shooting
  • 2013: The homicides in South Valley, New Mexico
  • 2012: The Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, Connecticut

Who opposes semi-automatic weapons and why?

On March 23, President Joe Biden called for tightening gun control laws in the wake of the mass shootings in Boulder and Atlanta.

On March 16, "sex addict" Robert Aaron Long, 21, gunned down eight people – seven women, six of which were of Asian decent – at three massage parlors in Atlanta.

The president urged the Senate to pass two gun control bills to extend the background check for private and online sales – and gun show purchases –  that passed the House earlier in March. 

"Less than a week after the horrific murders of eight people and the assault on the AAPI community in Georgia, while the flag was still flying at half-staff for the tragedy, another American city has been scarred by gun violence and the resulting trauma.

"And I hate to say it, because we're saying it so often, my heart goes out – our hearts go out for the survivors who had to flee for their lives and who hid, terrified, unsure if they would ever see their families or their friends again," Biden said.

Alissa allegedly bought the assault rifle six days before the shooting, according to an arrest affidavit released on March 23.

After holding press conference this afternoon, Biden tweeted: "We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

"We can close loopholes in our gun background check system. This is not a partisan issue — it’s an American issue that will save lives. Congress needs to act."

"I don’t need to wait another minute — or another hour — to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future," he told reporters minutes earlier. "We should also ban assault weapons in the process."

The president Biden had laid out plans to tackle gun violence during his 2020 campaign fight, including a proposal to ban assault weapons, enforce stricter background checks and end the sale of firearms and ammunition online.

Biden's proposal seeks to:

  • Ban the importation, manufacture, and sale of high-capacity magazines. The ban would be designed to prevent gunmakers from flouting the law by making minor changes that don't limit the weapon's lethality.
  • Reduce stockpiling of weapons. The Democrat supports legislation limiting the number of guns an individual is legally allowed to by per month to just one.

  • Require background checks for all gun sales. Biden would enact a universal background check law with few exceptions like gifts between close family members. This would close the so-called "gun show and online sales loophole" Biden and President Barack Obama narrowed during their administration.
  • End online sales of firearms and ammunition. The former vice president plans to enact a law that would ban all online sales of guns, ammo, kits, and gun parts.
  • Close the "hate crime" loophole. Biden would prohibit anyone "who has been convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime, or received an enhanced sentence for a misdemeanor because of hate or bias in its commission" from buying or owning a gun.

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