Controversy surrounds the popular AR-15 rifle

The weapon has come under fire after being used in the recent shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn.

By Kim Peterson Apr 26, 2013 12:38PM
The AR-15 is the most popular rifle in America, with a reported 4 million in circulation. And it may be the most controversial firearm in the country as well, after being used in the tragic mass killings in Aurora, Colo. and Newtown, Conn.

It looks like a machine gun, but it's not, said CNBC's Brian Sullivan. It's a semi-automatic rifle with one bullet used per trigger pull. Gun control advocates say it's dangerous and was designed to brutally destroy anything in its range. "The real problem is that we allow that kind of firepower to come into a theater or into a first-grade class," one former NRA member told CNBC.
Sullivan has a new special on the network exploring the rise of the AR-15 in this country. The rifle has become "the lightning rod of the gun control debate," he said in this video.

The rifle is becoming increasingly popular with women, too, though they are still make up a small percentage of buyers. Mostly, the gun is still referred to as a "Barbie doll for men" because of all the accessories you can get to customize it.Owner of Ade's Gun Shop, Emily Atkinson, shoulders a Stag Arms 5.56 AR-15 rifle at her shop on Jan. 2, 2013 (© Jebb Harris/The Orange County Register/ZUMA Press/Corbis)

Several companies make the AR-15, including Smith & Wesson (SWHC) and Bushmaster. And gun enthusiasts have been snapping up the rifle recently, worried that new gun control measures proposed in Congress might limit their ability to buy the weapon in the future.

"Right now they are popular because everyone is afraid of what is going to happen in the very near future with our government and possibly taking them away from us," a New York gun shop owner told USA Today. "Overall, it's just a fun gun to go out and shoot."

Sullivan also talked to Cody Wilson, whom Mashable calls "the world's most notorious 3-D printing gunsmith." Wilson is developing technology to print plastic parts of a gun using a 3-D printer. He's a law student at the University of Texas, and has received a license to make and sell guns from the federal government.

"We're gonna be flirting with the edge of detectability," he told Mashable. Wilson says he's close to making a 3-D printed handgun and AR-15.

More on moneyNOW

Apr 26, 2013 1:57PM

What part of "shall not be infringed" don't you understand??

These are my RIGHTS and not up for discussion

Apr 26, 2013 1:46PM
as i wrote to my congressman--there is no law on the books that prevents crime--only the punishment after the fact, and as such no laws should be passed should it negatively impact the noncriminals right to what ever fire arms he can it now stands the laws seek to make all criminals pretty much so with the mere possessing of parts of a gun. with cuomos widely pubilcised open calling for confiscation --it should be very easy to see where our paranoid feeling comes from--follow that up with the treasonous statements of bloomberg on the destruction of our rights --we're in trouble here.
Apr 26, 2013 1:50PM

Shall not be Infringed. Some people don't get it. At the time of our Founders, they used the most modern weapons of their time. You didn't have to go hand to hand because a rifle could be shot out to 100 yards.

Apr 26, 2013 1:46PM
 my right my choice ar 15 is a  good choice
Apr 26, 2013 2:15PM
This President has lost his way in this life, he needs to stop all the politicing and get back to work on the economy, more good jobs for the working class. Mr. President stop attacking our gun rights and do something to get people back to work, stop bringing un-needed workers from other countries to take our jobs away from us.
Apr 26, 2013 2:20PM

Really? Still? How much longer is main stream news media going to continue spreading this lie? The murders at Sandy Hook were done with pistols not any type of AR-15!!! There was an AR-15 found n he shooter's vehicle it was not used!!!

 How much longer are you supposed reporters and "news outlets" going to stay in our so called President's bed? How many more of his lies will you spread as gospel?

 Yes, it was a horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook but an AR-15 had nothing to do with it!!!

Apr 26, 2013 1:57PM
Of course we should not get rid of rape & murder laws, that would be ridiculous. Nobody is asking to get rid of gun laws. The point is, there are already plenty of gun laws that criminals do not follow. Adding new laws for them to not follow will not help. Your example would be more akin to getting rid of cars to stop drunk driving.
Apr 26, 2013 2:08PM
 "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
Apr 26, 2013 2:20PM

mexico has the toughest gun control laws in the western hemisphere but look at all the violence.

if you belive in gun control maybe you should move there and see for yourself.

and before you say it, our current administration is lying when they say 90% of the guns in mexico come from the us, the mexician goverment reports show only 18.3%

most come from brazil at 69.8%

look it up for yourself not on the lamestream media websites but the actual reports.

Apr 26, 2013 2:22PM

This is funny, all you hear out of the gun grabbing pukes mouths is 91%, 91%. What a laugh! Or it would be if there weren't so many sheeple who believe the lies and the skewing of numbers.


All you have to do is look at every article written on this issue and at least 80% DO NOT support gun control and are afraid of their government taking their rights. Do you hear me people? AFRAID OF THEIR GOVERNMENT. Since when were Americans EVER supposed to be afraid of what their government would do?


For those of you who blindly follow the rhetoric of a leftist socialist leaning anti American administration, WAKE UP. All you have to do is look at the numbers. The numbers do not lie, but politicians do for political gain. Seriously, look at the numbers from the FBI and U.S. Census Bureau concerning gun murders and crimes, as well as the number of crimes defended against on a yearly basis. If you aren't a leftist robot, the numbers will astound you. They show a VERY contradictory story from what Obumm and his flunkies in the media are spewing.


By the way I don't like him, just like I didn't liike Bush, And I didn't care for clinton , and I despised Carter. Reagan? Meh, I'm still on the fence about him.


Seriously though, gun is only going to bring about massive people control. NOT gonna happen. The people of this great nation enjoy their freedom too much. To attempt to enect gun control is courting the possibility of severe civil unrest. i am absolutely positive that the people of this country do not want that. I KNOW I don't.


approx. 9,500 gun murders every year

Of those less than 400 are committed with a rifle of ANY KIND.

7,500 are committed with hand guns.

The rest are shotgun and black powder and such.

Numbers courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau.


48% of all crime in this country committed by gangs.

Over 90% in many cities and regions.

Violent crime rates percentages are way above that for gangs.

Favorite gun of gangs? The hand gun.

Numbers courtesy of the FBI


So you see people, all you have to do is get off of your lazy brain and do a little research. After all you are already sitting in the drivers seat of that contraption called a computer. Why not use for something other than slurpping up the leftist propaganda indoctrination rhetoric?


Come on,,, just try it, I dare ya. That's right, just take the time to do some research of your own. you will be amazed.

Apr 26, 2013 2:42PM

Anyone who thinks that an AR-15 "looks like a machine gun" clearly doesn't know what a machine gun looks like. A machine gun is a fully automatic, usually belt-fed weapon. Who writes this crap?


Focusing on the AR-15 or any other weapon is missing the point. A rifle is an inert piece of wood, metal and plastic. It cannot function without a human being pulling the trigger. But banning the "scary looking" AR-15 would give Our Elected Buffoons a chance to jump up and shout "Look! We acted! We DID something!" Or even better, if a ban doesn't pass, they now have the opportunity to point the finger and shout "Look! Those evil bastards on the other side of aisle voted AGAINST my gun control measure! The violence is all THEIR fault! I wanted to DO something!"


Never mind that banning a particular weapon or banning high-capacity magazines (not "clips") will do nothing to ban murderers.

Apr 26, 2013 1:55PM
Yeah but they probably couldnt have predicted anti american propaganda being printed and distributed in this country either...that doesnt mean we ban the first amendmant...Leave the 2nd alone or befior you know it it'll be the 1st then the 13h etc etc.
Apr 26, 2013 3:08PM
Blah Blah Blah - looks like we should be more concerned about people buying pressure cookers without a background check.
Apr 26, 2013 3:05PM
There is no controversy here. Gun control idiots lost, it is over. There will be no gun control bill, period!
Apr 26, 2013 2:54PM

i love how its always... an AR 15 was used in about, a psychopath entered and killed a bunch of people... why is it always the tool that they blame?


if your house sucks, yuo dont blame the hammer and nail gun... u blame the contractor.  and the bill that died in the senate didnt mention 1 thing about pyschos getting guns... just another attempt to push the left's anti gun agenda; not protect people.  tell the gang memebers they now have to get backrgound checks... oh wait, they supposed to already...  but lets expand it so it will work this time.


make a law protecting us from psychos and i will be on board.  otherwise, leave that hippie shlit someplace else.

How many criminal get their guns legally in the first place? Do you think a criminal even goes to a gun show to buy a gun? I don't think so, they get them illegally! Why don't we make it a life sentence for a person with a criminal record to commit a crime with a weapon, any crime. If they are afraid of going to jail for the rest of their life for selling drugs while in possesion of a firearm, maybe they will think twice. Other than that all we are doing is causing honest people more trouble and costing them more money, so the government can say that at least they did something. Doesn't matter if it won't make any difference they at least did something.
Apr 26, 2013 2:33PM
idc what the gun was used for, id still take a ar-15 anyday, its the damn person behind the gun, not the gun itself. and as you can see a bomb does more damage than an assault rifle style gun and thats what people will resort to now, or is your ignorance not allowing you to see the obvious? as you know with alcohol prohibition IT DOES NOT WORK so what makes you think it will for guns?,  pull your heads outta your a*sses, smell the fresh air and get with reality... even pistols are used in more damn murders than these guns..
Apr 26, 2013 3:10PM
To the Gun Control crowd, it's not about the gun or saving's about CONTROL!  The gov't of liberals  wants to be able to eventually confiscate all firearms, so they can control the populace. No, I'm not paranoid...just a realist who has my eyes and ears open. If the Dems really cared about saving lives, they would ban the use of cell phones while driving. Many times more folks are killed by inattentive drivers than all the guns in the world!!!
Apr 26, 2013 3:23PM
It wasn't used in the Newtown massacre.  There is a film on the internet that shows the gun was never taken into the school.  See for yourself.  It's listed on Youtube under Sandy Hook, fully exposed.  What's the cover up about?
Apr 26, 2013 2:24PM

I have a question. In no way am I looking to argue.

Is the AR-15 really the most popular gun in America? I know sales are up right now because of concerns about a possible ban (which is not going to happen). But even before, was the gun that popular? And if so, why is that? What makes them so popular? Are people hunting with them? Target shooting? Or do people just like the way they look? I am sincerely curious. 

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