NPR

A Brief History Of The AR-15

The semi-automatic rifle has been in wide circulation for more than a half-century. In recent years, gunmen have used AR-15-style weapons to carry out many of the country's worst mass shootings.
Ads for guns in the 1962 Sears Christmas catalog, which features the semiautomatic M1 Carbine. Source: Sears

What weapon did the gunman use in the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida?

If you said the AR-15, you'd be wrong. And we'll explain in a moment.

For more than a half-century, the AR-15 has been popular among gun owners, widely available in gun stores and, for many years, even appeared in the Sears catalog.

Yet over the past decade, the AR-15 and its offshoots have been used in many of the country's worst mass shootings. This has reignited the debate about their widespread availability.

Dick's Sporting Goods announced Wednesday that

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