Colt AR-15

semi-automatic rifle manufactured by Colt

The Colt AR-15 is a lightweight, 5.56×45mm, magazine-fed, gas-operated semi-automatic rifle manufactured by Colt's Manufacturing Company. It is semi-automatic version of the United States military M16 rifle that is marketed to civilian customers. It was designed to be manufactured with extensive use of aluminum alloys and synthetic materials.

A Colt AR-15




  • If the cutoff point is set at 10 or more victims killed in a single incident, the cases become rare and the majority of victims are strangers, as in Charles Whitman's Texas Tower killings (two family members and 14 strangers killed, 30 others wounded) and James Huberty's MacDonald's massacre (21 strangers dead, 19 wounded). Indeed, by this definition the only mass murder in American history in which most of the victims were family members was the killing of 13 people in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, by former prison guard George Banks. Banks had had children by four women and lived with three of them and their children on a rotating basis, making it possible for him to kill enough family members to set such a record....
    In the less migratory years of American history, the houses where such things occurred sometimes came to be regarded as haunted-if they were not burned to the ground, as was George Banks' house....
    Unbeknownst to those who evaluated him, Banks had long been fascinated by weapons and survivalist themes. In his home was a collection of Soldier of Fortune, Commando and Gung Ho!, three magazines devoted to the imagery of warfare and glamorous portrayals of military and paramilitary weapons. He had purchased equipment and materials of the kind advertised and promoted in these magazines, including a Colt AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the civilian equivalent of the M-16 and a manual offering instruction on the crafting of silencers in home workshops.


  • In the early morning hours of September 25, 1982, George Emil Banks, appellant, went on a rampage in and near the City of Wilkes-Barre in Luzerne County. In the space of about one hour, appellant shot fourteen people with a Colt AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, killing thirteen and wounding one. All but one of the dead were the women and children who made up appellant's extended family; the other two victims were strangers (one survived) who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.


  • On September 25, 1982 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Banks shot fourteen people with a Colt AR 15 semi-automatic rifle, killing thirteen and wounding one. The AR-15 is a civilian version of the military's M-16 rifle. Banks began his deadly spree at his own home, where he shot and killed three of his girlfriends and their five children, four of whom Banks himself had fathered. Banks then left his home clad in what appeared to be military fatigues. On the street outside he happened upon a group of bystanders who had heard the shots. Banks shot and killed one, a young man who had recognized him, and also shot and seriously wounded another. Banks then carjacked a car and drove to a trailer park, where he shot another girlfriend, their son, a second boy, and the girlfriend's mother. Two other boys survived the attack. After a stand-off at a friend's house, Banks surrendered.


  • Colt Manufacturing, which had the military contract for the M-16, recognized that there could also be a civilian market for this rifle. So they developed what they called the AR-15, which was actually the original developmental designation of the rifle. The only difference between these rifles that are sold on the civilian market and the rifles that are issued to our soldiers and soldiers all over the world is that the purely military rifle is capable of firing what's called fully automatic fire. That means if you pull the trigger and hold it down, the gun will continue to fire until it expends all the ammunition in what is known as the magazine, the thing that holds the bullets. Machine guns have been outlawed in the United States, effectively, for civilian use since the mid-1980s. So what these guns need to be configured to be are semiautomatic. That means you must pull the trigger for each round fired. There's a question about rate of fire which the industry and the NRA and other advocates of having these guns in civilian hands make, and it goes like this: Well, the military guns are fully automatic, therefore they're technically machine guns, but the civilians guns are not. They're semiautomatic, and therefore they're not assault rifles. That's a distinction without a difference, as many writers on the gun side noted in the early 1980s, when even the industry called them assault rifles, until they became involved in unfortunate incidents...The reason I say it's a distinction without a difference is that the trigger can be pulled at a very rapid rate in semiautomatic fire, and it's actually more automatic fire the gun has a tendency to rise upward, to travel. If you go to shooting ranges where automatic weapons are used, you'll often see, in the ceiling, bullet holes because you pull the trigger and the characteristic sounds of - bbrruppp - the gun will rise. Semiautomatic fire doesn't do that, which is why the military encourages soldiers to shoot semiautomatic rather than automatic whenever possible.


  • What do James Holmes, Adam Lanza, and Omar Mateen have in common? Besides being the perpetrators of three of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, they all share a preference for the AR-15 assault rifle. The AR-15 assault rifle was used at the Aurora, Colo. shooting, the Newtown, Conn. shooting, and now the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla. that killed 50 and is officially the deadliest such massacre in U.S. history...While Colt alone makes the official AR-15, variants and knock-offs are made by a huge number of gun manufactures, including Bushmaster, Les Baer, Remington, Smith & Wesson (swhc, +0.00%), and Sturm & Ruger (rgr, -2.04%), just to name a few. TacticalRetailer claims that from 2000 to 2015 the AR manufacturing sector expanded from 29 AR makers to about 500, “a stunning 1,700% increase.”


  • No outer trauma or inner demon can justify the worst mass killing in northeast Pennsylvania — one of the deadliest sprees of violence in American history.
    Banks sits alone in his cell at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford for days at a time, occupied by the fantasies and delusions that have played in his psyche since before the Sept. 25, 1982, shooting spree that left 13 people dead in Wilkes Barre and Jenkins Township, including five of his own children....
    Banks wore military-style fatigues and a T-shirt that read, “Kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out,” as he used an M-16 rifle and an AR-15 automatic rifle to end the lives of girlfriends Regina Clemens, 29, Dorothy Lyons, 29, Sharon Mazzillo, 24, and Susan Yuhas, 23; sons Kissmayu, 5, Boende, 4, and Forarode, 1; daughters Montanzima, 6, and Maritanya, 1; and four others: Lyons’ daughter, Nancy, 11; Mazzillo’s nephew, Scott, 7, and mother, Alice, 47; and Raymond Hall, 24, a guest at a party across the street from the Schoolhouse Lane crime scene.
  • When did the AR-15 first become available to civilians?...
    Colt sent a pilot model rifle (serial no. GX4968) to the BATF for civilian sale approval on Oct. 23, 1963. It was approved on Dec. 10, 1963, and sales of the "Model R6000 Colt AR-15 SP1 Sporter Rifle" began on Jan 2, 1964. The M16 wasn't issued to infantry units until 1965 (as the XM16E1), wasn't standardized as the M16A1 until 1967, and didn't officially replace the M14 until 1969. Colt had been selling semi-automatic AR-15's to civilians for 5 years by the time the M16A1 replaced the M14.
  • The AR-15 was developed in the late 1950s as a civilian weapon by Eugene Stoner, a former Marine working for small California startup called ArmaLite (which is where the AR comes from). The gun, revolutionary for its light weight, easy care and adaptability with additional components, entered the mainstream in the mid-1960s, after Colt bought the patent and developed an automatic-fire version for troops in Vietnam, called the M16.


  • Light, precise and with little recoil, Colt Armalite Rifle-15 Sporter hit the market in the early 1960s as the first civilian version of the military’s M16 rifle. What set it apart was, much like its military counterpart, the inventor Eugene Stoner’s patented gas operating system, which allowed for rapid fire and reloading. The weapon could easily handle a 20-round magazine, was easy to disassemble and was marketed, in one of Colt’s early advertisements, to hunters, campers and collectors.
    Billed as “America’s rifle” by the National Rifle Association, the AR-15 is less a specific weapon than a family of them. When Mr. Stoner’s rights to the gas system expired in 1977, it opened the way for dozens of weapons manufacturers to produce their own models, using the same technology. The term AR-15 has become a catchall that includes a variety of weapons that look and operate similarly, including the Remington Bushmaster, the Smith & Wesson M&P15 and the Springfield Armory Saint.
    Over the ensuing decades, as the American military modified the M16’s exterior to allow for accessories such as sights, grips and flashlights, the civilian market followed. Today, gun enthusiasts consider the AR-15 the Erector Set of firearms.
  • Indeed, the AR-15 is also inextricably linked to tragedy. Mass shootings are central to the gun’s narrative, and its popularity....
    It is unclear when and how the rifle worked its way into the United States’ lexicon of violent crimes. In 1982, George E. Banks shot to death 13 people with the weapon, and in 1997, an AR-15, among other semiautomatic military-style rifles, was used in the North Hollywood shootout, a daytime robbery in California that devolved into a nearly hourlong firefight and was televised live across the country. During the gun battle, police officers were forced to run to a local gun store and take rifles to try to contend with the robbers’ firepower and body armor. Afterward, police departments around the country started making AR-15s standard issue for officers.
  • The shooting began around 9:50 a.m. Bowers was armed with several guns including an AR-15, records show.
    Bowers killed 11 people then went to the third floor of the building. Law enforcement responded and exchanged gunfire with Bowers.
    "They're committing genocide to my people," Bowers allegedly told one law enforcement officer. "I just want to kill Jews."
    Authorities say he continued to make comments about genocide. Bowers eventually surrendered to police.
    Investigators located three .357 caliber Glock handguns and a Colt AR-15, records show.
  • All the guns used in Saturday's massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue had been purchased legally, a federal official said Wednesday.
    Authorities allege Robert Bowers opened fire at the Tree of Life synagogue as three congregations gathered to celebrate Shabbat services Saturday morning, killing 11 people and injuring six others in what's believed to the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in US history.
    Bowers used a Colt AR-15 rifle and three Glock .357 handguns during the attack, police have said.
  • In a rampage that has been described as among the deadliest against the Jewish community in the United States, the suspect — armed with a Colt AR-15 rifle and at least three handguns — stormed into the Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday and opened fire indiscriminately, the authorities said. Among the injured were several law enforcement officers.


  • A federal grand jury added new hate crime charges on Tuesday in a new superseding indictment against Robert Bowers, who allegedly killed 11 Jewish worshipers in an anti-Semitic attack in Pittsburgh last October.
    Bowers, 46, originally faced 44 federal charges over the Oct. 27, 2018, attack at the Tree of Life synagogue.
    The new indictment adds an additional 19 charges: 11 counts of hate crimes leading to death, two counts of hate crimes leading to injury and six corresponding firearms charges, according to the Department of Justice.
    Bowers allegedly entered the synagogue armed with multiple firearms, including three Glock .357 handguns and a Colt AR-15 rifle, and expressed a desire to “kill Jews” before opening fire, the DOJ said in a statement.
  • Robert Bowers, the man accused of killing 11 people during an attack at a Pittsburgh synagogue, pleaded not guilty Monday to 19 additional federal charges of hate crimes, obstruction of free exercise and discharging a firearm.
    The total number of charges against him is now up to 63. In November, he pleaded not guilty to 44 charges, which included the murders.
    Bowers also requested trial by jury during his appearance Monday at a federal courthouse in Pittsburgh.
    Prosecutors say Bowers, 46, was armed with multiple weapons, including a Colt AR-15 rifle and three handguns, when he opened fire inside the Tree of Life synagogue in the city's Squirrel Hill neighborhood Oct. 27 during a morning service.
    The attack left 11 people dead and several others injured, including police officers who were trying to rescue victims and confront Bowers.
    Prosecutors said Bowers allegedly talked about his desire to "kill Jews" during the rampage.
  • The 46-year-old man accused of killing 11 people during an attack at a synagogue in Pittsburgh in October 2018 has pleaded not guilty to new charges.
    On Monday, Robert Bowers pleaded not guilty to 19 additional federal charges of hate crimes, as well as the obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs and discharging a firearm.
    Mr Bowers now faces 63 charges. He pleaded not guilty to 44 charges, some of which included murders, in November.
    While appearing at a Pittsburgh federal courthouse on Monday, Bowers also requested a trial by jury.
    The prosecution team argue that Bowers used multiple heavy firearms, including a Colt AR-15 and three handguns, when he allegedly went inside the Tree of Life Synagogue in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighbourhood and opened fire during a morning service on October 27.
  • The National Rifle Association is trying to export its guns-for-everyone-everywhere agenda overseas — and its global activities have little to do with its mission to protect the constitutional rights of gun owners....
    For those manufacturers, cultivating relationships with the American gun lobby is paramount for business. Who, after all, will defend foreign gun manufacturers after their firearms are used in mass shootings here in the United States and ensure that the market for American customers remains unrestricted? The alleged killer at the Pittsburgh synagogue in October relied on three Austrian Glock .357 handguns (along with a Colt AR-15 rifle). The shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School used a Glock 10mm handgun and a German SIG Sauer P226 9mm handgun as well as an American-made assault weapon to kill 26 people.
    So it’s no surprise that in 2008, Beretta, an Italian gun manufacturer, pledged to donate $1 million to the NRA. Belgian FN Herstal gave as much as $200,000 to the lobby in 2013. Glock donated at least $115,000 during 2011, and both Glock and Beretta are part of the lobby’s Golden Ring of Freedom, an elite circle for donors that gift $1 million or more. SIG Sauer is also part of that club.
  • The Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday passed gun-control legislation that bans some assault-style firearms and ammunition five months after a gunman opened fire inside a Squirrel Hill synagogue killing 11 people.
    The council voted 6-3 to pass the legislation, which makes it illegal to load, brandish, display, discharge, point or use an assault weapon within city limits.
    "We're pretty happy we've gone through the process, we've made changes listening to a number of people," councilman Corey O'Connor said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I think the colleagues who stuck with us were very brave in doing so, and even the colleagues who voted against wanted to a gun conversation."
    The legislation also allows courts to temporarily remove weapons from people who appear to pose an "extreme risk" to others or themselves. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, who helped author the bill, is expected to sign it.
    Authorities described one of the guns used in the Tree of Life synagogue shooting on Oct. 27 -- a Colt AR-15 semi-automatic rifle -- as an assault rifle. The shooter also used three Glock .357 SIG semi-automatic pistols in the shooting that left 11 dead and six victims injured.
  • The Pittsburgh City Council voted Tuesday to restrict assault weapons months after 11 people were shot and killed with an assault rifle and other guns at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue.
    The three bills restrict the use of assault weapons, extended magazines and armor piercing ammunition in public places within the city of Pittsburgh, and allow courts to temporarily take guns away from individuals deemed to pose a significant danger to themselves or others.
    "Today Pittsburgh took a stand to say enough is enough," city councilman Corey O'Connor told CNN. He said this "shows that the city of Pittsburgh is willing to fight to protect its residents."
    The legislation comes months after the deadliest assault on the Jewish community in US history, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Eleven people were killed and 6 were injured when a man opened fire at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in October. Police said the shooter used a Colt AR-15 rifle and three Glock .357 handguns during the attack.

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