A 19-year-old former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday afternoon, killing 17 people.
The suspect, identified by law enforcement officials as Nikolas Cruz, chose the same weapon used to carry out some of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history: an AR-15.
It’s the same assault rifle that was used at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where Adam Lanza killed 27 people, including 20 first graders. It was used in Aurora, Colorado, where James Holmes killed 12 people in a movie theater. It was used in San Bernardino, California, where Syed Farook killed 14 people. And it was used in Las Vegas, Nevada, where Steven Paddock killed 58 people — to date, the deadliest mass shooting in United States history.
The AR-15 is the most popular rifle in the U.S. according to the National Rifle Association (NRA); there are an estimated 9 million in circulation as of 2014. Its popularity is likely due to the fact that it is extremely customizable and accommodates high capacity magazines that can fire off 100 rounds or more within minutes, features the NRA frequently touts on its blog.
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Author: Rebekah Entralg