The Irrational Fear of the AR-15
The AR-15 is one of the most popular weapons among gun owners in America. Semi-automatic rifles have been used in mass shootings, however the death toll from these rifles is far lower than from handguns, as well as knives, cars, and pharmaceuticals. While it is important to acknowledge the power of these weapons, that doesn't excuse the deliberate use of misinformation that many are deploying in reaction to Orlando.
When the reports came out that Omar Mateen was not using an AR-15 when he decided to go on his murderous rampage, that didn't stop the calls to ban the AR-15 and reinstate the semi-automatic gun ban. What most anti-gun advocates forget is that there are ways around the ban. These methods are as illegal as buying a fully automatic rifle, but that doesn't mean they disappear when new laws are instated.
Those calling for more gun control have yet to acknowledge that their proposals would have had no bearing on the attack. If they were truly concerned about policy changes that would have prevented this from happening, then they would be advocating for stronger FBI clearance to arrest and detain people. If it saves one life, it doesn't matter that we move towards a Minority Report-style pre-crime enforcement strategy.
Given the fact that Mateen was checked in on by the FBI 3 times prior to the shootings at Pulse, one has to wonder what the point of these interviews were if the determination each time was that he was no threat. In a perfect world, the FBI would have figured it out and prevented this from happening and we'd never have heard of Omar Mateen.
But that discretion wasn't employed. Much like calls for gun control, the efficacy of the surveillance and police state is questionable. If we have destroyed many of the constitutional protections around due process, collection of information and unlawful detainment via things like the PATRIOT Act, why aren't we at least getting something out of it? This is the inherent problem of state-based solutions founded on fear; they are always reactionary and rarely address the problem they attempt to solve.
People are deliberately associating the AR-15 with the attack as an effort for more gun control laws. Just as the FBI failed at identifying Mateen as a problem, so too will the state fail at accomplishing anything with gun control. The misinformation about AR-15s and the Orlando shooting only serves to further cloud the truth of the situation. No amount of control will prevent murders, terrorists, and those who seek to inflict harm from doing so. It's time we face up to that and figure out a real solution that isn't a knee jerk reaction to a crisis.
If all you focus on is gun control, you will always be disappointed because criminals don't care about the legal status of their gun.