Buying an AR-15 shouldn’t be this easy.
How hard is it to buy an AR-15? With Senate Republicans digging in their heels over gun control, you’d think it’s already too danged hard to buy guns here in the good old U.S. of A. If you thought that, you’d not only be wrong, you’d be so horribly wrong it’ll cancel out all the times you’re right about anything for the next two years.
In the wake of the Orlando shooting, a Virginia Tech student — yes, that Virginia Tech — wanted to see how hard it would be to buy an AR-15. In an article for The Tab, Cody Davis (not the man shown in the photo above), described how terrifyingly easy it was for him to buy that AR-15, even though his driver’s license had expired.
Two days after the worst mass shooting in American history, and my local gun shop in Virginia showed no hesitation in selling me an AR-15.
In fact, they really wanted me to buy it. And I was only there for five minutes.
Yikes. The folks in the gun shop never asked what the heck he planned on doing with his AR-15; they didn’t even notice the past-due expiration date on his driver’s license (though he would have been able to produce a receipt for the new one that would soon come in the mail). Cody Davis just showed them the registration from the car; they should have wondered whether he was supposed to be driving, and they were ready to sell him an AR-15 of his very own. For only $669!
But wait…The law says age 20 is too young to own a rifle. No problem. The manager cheerfully handed Davis a shoulder stock, because, apparently, that makes everything just fine.
After I set the gun down to take a photo of it, the manager of the store walked up and finally asked my age. When he learned that I was 20, he simply took a shoulder stock from a cabinet and set it right beside the gun.
“Wait,” I said. “Just adding a butt to the rifle lowers the buying age from 21 to 18?”
The two sellers smiled and nodded. They then informed me that I couldn’t purchase a handgun, but I could buy a shotgun or rifle as long as it had a stock.
And then, without him even mentioning them, one of the gun shop employees asked, “Now do you want to take a look at the AR-15s?”
I was taken by surprise a bit. This is the AR-15, the same weapon the gunman in Orlando used to kill 50 people; the same weapon used in the terrorist attack that occurred two days ago. It was also the weapon used in the massacres at Sandy Hook, the Aurora movie theater, Umpqua Community College, and San Bernardino.
They even told Cody Davis this deadly firearm is popular “due to the control and grip.” Because, of course, the fact that an AR-15 can shoot a terrifying number of rounds per minute has nothing to do with it at all. (As Rolling Stone recently reported: “Experts attribute the AR-15’s popularity to its image, its ease of use, its nominal recoil and the rate at which it fires. It’s semi-automatic, meaning it can release bullets as fast as the shooter pulls its trigger, and can continue firing until the magazine is empty.”)
Davis insists that if he’d gone through with the purchase and he’d taken the gun shop’s sales people up on their offer to help with the five pages of paperwork, he would have been able to walk out with an AR-15 just five minutes after he walked in.
No delay. No extensive background check. Just my recently expired driver’s license, my vehicle registration, and filling out some paperwork.
Ultimately these are the laws we have, this shop hasn’t done anything wrong. But if a 20-year-old college student can walk into a gun shop and be out in minutes with an AR-15, and you believe nothing needs to be changed, you need help.
Of course, this alarming post has attracted hundreds of
pro-gun trolls skeptical folks who claim Cody Davis embellished the facts or made the whole thing up. But guess what? A producer from CBS News did the same experiment in the same state that same week and came to exactly the same conclusion, though she reports it took a bit longer; and she would have had to pay more for her AR-15.
All told, it took 38 minutes and $1,030 for her to walk out of the store legally armed with a rifle, 100 rounds of ammunition and a 30-round magazine.
How is this even possible? Because Virginia is among the 41 states — 41 states! — that does not require waiting periods for buying guns. It should also be noted that the inventor of the AR-15 never intended it for civilian use, never owned one. His family says he would have been “horrified” to see how the weapon he invented is being used today. So why do we allow potential mass murders to buy deadly, automatically-repeating, military grade rifles with lax background checks and no waiting periods? Ask the NRA’s pro-gun lobby: Nine Senators alone, who’ve repeatedly blocked gun safety bills, received over $22 million from the NRA.
Watch: CBS reports on how terrifyingly easy it is to buy an AR-15.
Featured image: Embed via Getty images.