Ever since the massacre at Sandy Hook in which Adam Lanza used an AR-15 to murder two dozen women and children, the AR-15 has become the most popular rifle in the United States. As we've covered here, it's basically a fetish -- one that's even extended to members of Congress.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) might be the target of a police investigation for possessing an AR-15 inside the District of Columbia where it's illegal to carry such a rifle. Buck was photographed recently holding the weapon with, ironically enough, Benghazi investigator Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC).
Buck told The Hill that Capitol Police approved of him bringing the rifle into his office, where he said he keeps it locked in a display case. He also said the firearm was "inoperable."
Since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, gun clubs, firearms retailers, gun rights organizations and even a former U.S. congressman have all held multiple contests in which the AR-15, Adam Lanza's weapon of choice, was the prize.
In fact, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), while a sitting member of Congress, conducted two AR-15 giveaways. Not only did Stockman deliberately choose the AR-15 due to its high profile during the post-Sandy Hook gun control debate, but he chose the exact same AR-15 manufacturer as the Lanza weapon: Bushmaster. The ghoulishness is breathtaking, especially given the sheer number of other available firearms that have little or no association with the most gruesome day on American soil since 9/11. But Stockman chose that one. The Bushmaster AR-15.
Worse yet, roughly 100,000 people entered that contest.
On the day of the second of two drawings, Stockman said, "An AR-15 muzzle flash is the new torch of liberty." An AR-15 muzzle flash was also the last thing 20 children and six school teachers would ever see. But sure, torch of liberty, etc.
Meanwhile, AR-15 sales spiked to record levels as gun enthusiasts lined up to buy AR-15s in the months following Sandy Hook. Sure, it was a popular firearm before the massacre, but as new gun control measures were debated throughout the following year in response to Sandy Hook, gun dealers were barely able to keep the rifle and its ammunition in stock.
Back in April, 2013, the president of Stag Arms, a Connecticut gun manufacturer that produces AR-15s, told CNBC, "[It's] been a very, very busy year for us. Right now we're at about a year's back order, 70,000 rifles at this point."
70,000 from one manufacturer. Think about that.
A Charlotte, NC gun shop owner continued, "The AR-15 now is probably the number one economic engine in the gun industry."
Every year, 25 percent of all firearm sales in the U.S. are AR-15s -- $1 billion of a $4 billion industry. Four million AR-15s are in circulation today. And it's a foregone conclusion that the year with the highest annual sales of AR-15s will be 2013.
In late 2013, another gun-maker, Slide Fire, released a modified AR-15 that can reportedly act as a fully automatic rifle using belt-fed rounds -- and a loophole in the law makes it perfectly legal. The company's marketing manager said, "It sprays like a fire hose."
Now imagine the insanity if Muslim-Americans flooded hardware stores to purchase box cutters in the wake of 9/11, and then tell me this AR-15 obsession isn't one of the most ghoulish fetishes ever.