New York Times Publishes Comprehensive Assault Weapon Article | Building Background Knowledge
The New York Times has published a comprehensive and compelling article recounting the evolution of the assault weapon.
The article, "Tools of Modern Terror: How the AK-47 and AR-15 Evolved Into Rifles of Choice for Mass Killers" , was written by C.J. Chivers with illustrations by Attila Futaki.
The lengthy, well organized article states, among other startling facts:
"The Kalashnikov had fueled an unheralded arms race. By the 1980s the two lines of weapons — the AK-47 and the AR-15, and their many descendants and spinoffs — were a global pair.
Laws in the United States mostly limited civilian possession of AR-15s and their competitors to models that fire semiautomatically only. But as these variants gained popularity with veterans, gun-rights advocates, preppers and, occasionally, with criminals or terrorists, their place in crime grew — even as Kalashnikov production ebbed. Variants of the AR-15 were used in the mass killings in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, and by sympathizers of the Islamic State in San Bernardino. An MCX, a recently introduced military-style rifle designed for the Special Forces but available in semiautomatic form for civilians, was used by the lone gunman who attacked a nightclub in Orlando in June.
Semiautomatic Kalashnikovs are also part of the mass-shooting routine. The gunman in the 1989 schoolyard shooting in Stockton, Calif., which killed five children and wounded dozens more, attacked his victims with a semiautomatic Chinese Kalashnikov. His crime was part of the impetus for bans on assault-style weapons at the state and national level. The Army veteran who killed five police officers in Dallas in July used a semiautomatic Kalashnikov."