When the Colt gun manufacturing corporation announced in September that it would stop producing its AR-15 semiautomatic rifle for sale to the general public — to focus on handguns and military production —some gun-control advocates declared victory, saying the move would help limit the availability of assault weapons in the U.S.
Colt's recent decision to halt civilian production of AR-15s sent a tremor through the small-arms community, a sign that other gunmakers may fall victim to a market swelled to capacity with the popular semi-automatic rifle.
More than seven years ago, Iraq War hero Benjamin M. Wassell became the first person to be criminally prosecuted under New York State's SAFE Act, a controversial gun control law that has been applauded by advocates for victims of violent crimes but attacked by defenders of the right to bear arms.
State Police arrested Wassell, of Silver Creek, after alleging that he sold two semiautomatic "assault weapons" to an undercover investigator. Wassell, who suffered a brain injury from the explosion of an improvised bomb in Iraq, claimed he was confused by differing information that people gave him about the SAFE Act.
A Ruger AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, center, the same model, though in gray rather than black, used by the shooter in a Texas church massacre two days earlier, sits on display with other rifles on a wall in a gun shop Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, in Lynnwood, Wash. (Associated Press/Elaine Thompson)
A new bill introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives would require a significant number of state residents own "at least one" AR-15 semi-automatic rifle with the help of a hefty tax break — except it won't ever get off the ground.