AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

A+Colt+AR-15+rifle%2C+the+original+AR-15+style+rifle
A Colt AR-15 rifle, the original AR-15 style rifle

A Colt AR-15 rifle, the original AR-15 style rifle

A Colt AR-15 rifle, the original AR-15 style rifle

Amila Niksic, Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






In the aftermath of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and faculty members lost their lives, many of the survivors have spoken out against assault rifles, loose gun laws, and the NRA. They have also been encouraging major gun retailers to take assault rifles off of their shelves and raise the minimum buying age.  While at first these attempts were shot down, the replies have started to roll in. Dick’s Sporting Goods (DSG) was the first major company to immediately stop the sale of all assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Dick’s also raised the buying age from 18 to 21. The CEO of DSG, Edward Stack, called for very specific gun regulations rather than silently voicing his support. He said “We implore our elected officials to enact common sense gun reform and pass the following regulations,” and he also advocated for the discontinuation of bump-stock (devices that enable a semi-automatic rifle to act as an automatic rifle) sales, as well as universal background checks for all purchasers, with a focus on mental health and previous run-ins with the law.  After Dick’s made their announcement, another major weapons retailer, Walmart, followed suit. They raised their buying age and discontinued the sale of bump-stocks, high-capacity magazines, and AR-15 assault rifles. Soon after these announcements, Dick’s and Walmart were served with a lawsuit by a 20 year old man in Michigan over the increased buying age, and The Eagle will be following that story as it plays out.

As these changes come into effect, it is important to look at why they are so important.  AR-15 assault rifles were first used during the Vietnam War. They were used because they were lighter and easier to control than similar weapons. The reason they became so popular is due to their specific design for maximum shock absorption while shooting, as well as the ease and speed of interchanging magazines.  The only difference between the version used in the 1960s and the one used now is that the AR-15 is currently being sold as a semi-automatic rifle (one bullet per one pull of the trigger). However, it can easily be customized into a fully-automatic rifle with the purchase of a bump stock. With only 8 lbs. of pressure and a bump stock, a shooter can use his semi-automatic rifle as a weapon of war. In fact, it is easier to purchase a semi-automatic rifle than it is to purchase a simple handgun, which requires a three day waiting period. To put things in perspective, a person must be eighteen to purchase a semi-automatic rifle, meaning they can buy a gun before they can legally consume and buy alcohol.

AR-15 style rifles are not just easy to purchase. They also win the award for being used in the most mass shootings and taking the lives of the most people in America, including: 50 people in Orlando, FL in 2016, 59 people with 422 injuries in Las Vegas, NV in 2017, 27 people in Sutherland Springs, TX in 2017, 28 people (mostly small children) in Newtown, CT in 2012, and 17 people (mostly high school students and faculty) in Parkland, FL most recently in 2018  Each of these shootings was carried out at least in part with an AR-15 type customized automatic assault rifle. The only way to stop these merciless slaughters is to stop the distribution of assault rifles, or to at least enact federal regulations and legislation that implement universal background checks, raise buying ages, tighten mental health regulations, and impose criminal background checks for those who wish to purchase semi-automatic assault rifles.

I urge you to contact your representatives about passing gun legislation to save lives and ensure that mass shootings like the one in Parkland do not happen again.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    Youth and Government Fundraiser A Success

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    King Hedley II in August Wilson’s Backyard: A Theatrical Masterpiece

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    Why Anthony Bourdain Was Just So Special

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    Finding Your Niche

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    So, What’s Up With Finals?

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    Senior of the Week: Zoe Moran

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All You Need to Know About...

    Interesting Facts About Space

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    Why Sleep is More Important than you Think

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    Obama Youth and Government: A Fundraiser for the Ages

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    100 Years Ago, a Nation was Born in Pittsburgh

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    Teacher Feature: Mr Smith- Part Two

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    A Call to All Philanthropic Pittsburghers: Help Save Gus and Yia Yia’s

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    Opinion: The NFL’s Policy on Kneeling During the Anthem is Misguided

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    Deliciously Cheap: Banh Mi Edition

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    The Reality of Being American

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    Teacher Feature: Mr. Smith- Part One

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    Senior of the Week: Dyonna Hall

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    A Recap of the Pittsburgh Primaries and What They Mean for Public Education

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    The Eagle Interviews Registered Nurse and Author Theresa Brown

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    Results Come in For Governor, U.S. Senate Primaries

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    The Injustice of Standardized Tests

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    We Interviewed Lindsey Williams, Democratic Candidate for Senate District 38

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    We Interviewed Stephanie Walsh, Democratic Candidate for Senate District 38

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    Obama Baseball Wraps Up Season

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    Kilauea: Hawaii Volcano Eruption

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    Discrimination Against LGBTQ+ Students in Schools

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    Obama Shoots Up In School Rankings

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    Senior of the Week: Hazel Rouse

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    Special Olympics Track and Field Returns

  • AR-15: The Story of a Rifle

    All Posts

    All You Need to Know About… Cinco de Mayo

Pittsburgh Barack Obama Academy of International Studies
AR-15: The Story of a Rifle