The AR-15 wasn’t designed to be a civilian rifle. When it debuted in the middle of the 20th century, it did so as a military weapon. After a semiautomatic model launched for civilian customers, gun manufacturers doubted its appeal. At trade shows, NRA members would walk by sellers’ booths and “give us the finger,” an AR vendor told The Washington Post. So how did it become the bestselling rifle in America?
A seven-month investigation from the Post found that the AR’s ascendance in the marketplace had everything to do with its reevaluation by the American public. Read more →
What to Know Today
At least six people — including three children — were killed in a mass shooting Monday at a Nashville private school for students from pre-K to sixth grade; at least five others were wounded. The shooter was killed by police. [The Tennessean]
As guns are increasingly stolen from cars, public health officials and lawmakers have proposed mandating lock boxes for any weapons stored within vehicles. But experts say the policy would require a huge cultural shift, and some doubt it would make a difference in reducing shootings. [The New York Times]
Third-party Amazon retailers have disguised stabilizing braces — the target of a recent Biden administration crackdown — as bicycle parts and tools, selling the accessories in violation of company policy. [VICE] Context: Amazon isn’t the only major online marketplace that’s struggled to control pistol brace sales.
The U.S. and Mexico have reportedly struck a tentative deal to stem the cross-border flow of firearms and fentanyl, in which the Mexican military and police would crack down on drug labs, and the Biden administration would place stricter controls on guns crossing the southern border. [NBC News]
Illinois’ punitive gun regulations are rooted in lawmakers’ responses to the racial justice protests and Black Power movement of the 1960s. It’s a legacy that still reverberates today. [The Marshall Project] Context: The Trace has a timeline of Illinois’ long history of regulating firearms. Find it here.
Florida’s top law enforcement agency declined to apply for a $15 million federal grant to help fund emergency risk protection programs, which are used to temporarily remove guns from people who may be a danger to themselves or others. Florida was one of just six states to opt out of receiving the money. [Tampa Bay Times]
While the Washington State Legislature mulls over an assault weapons ban, gun store owners who sell AR-15-style rifles say business is booming. [VICE]
Rising eviction rates correlate with crime spikes, according to new research from Cornell University. “By unraveling social ties,” the study’s author writes, “eviction actively undermines a community’s ability to keep itself safe.” [Cornell University/Gothamist]
1 in 20 — the proportion of American adults who say they own at least one AR-15-style rifle. That’s about 16 million people. [The Washington Post and Ipsos]
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