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Monday, May 23, 2022

Columns

Yes, the AR-15 can be just as lethal as the M4


For my first column of this school year, I discussed the need for gun control based on the continuous violence in the U.S. involving many things — including the easy access to firearms.

I did not call for a ban on guns like the popular AR-15 rifle. I certainly didn’t aim to propose a way to completely end gun violence. My intention was to show that even a guy that has been in the military and has loved guns since then understands the need for gun reform.

A better background check, safety mechanism and mental health evaluation are all I am asking for. This is not setting a precedent that will lead to a gun ban, or something impossible, to implement.

These are just a few ways we can try to prevent horrific acts like the Orlando shooting. The shooter in this incident used a Sig Sauer MCX, which is similar in style, but different in operation to the AR-15.

In my column, I also compared the M4 carbine rifle to the AR-15 which is easily purchased in stores like Academy and Cabela’s across Texas.

Well, this was the “smoking gun,” as they say. I seem to have crossed a line that borders on deceit and stupidity among my critics for making this “mistake.”

That’s right. The best argument against my proclamation that even a veteran can understand gun control was how I tried to make it seem like the AR-15 was basically the minigun touted by Schwarzenegger in “Terminator 2.”

The AR-15 is different from the M4 in one important category, that’s true. The rifle I used in Iraq not only had single fire, but also a three-round burst. That alone can make it much more lethal than a standard model. Now, with the implementation of the M4A1, starting a year after I left the military in 2013, soldiers have the option for fully automatic fire rate.

Despite what some may think, the customization of the AR-15 doesn’t stop at cool tactical flash lights and Leupold scopes. There are many ways to customize the functionality of the AR-15 and weapons like it — including making the rifle almost fully automatic.

Finding a trigger mechanism or even a buttstock that alters the rifle just enough to increase the fire rate is just a quick Google search and purchase away. You don’t even have to spend very much money as most these products are available for retail for under $400.

If a person doesn’t want to shell out that much money on something like that, they can easily purchase a drum that can carry tons of ammo and just continuously pull the trigger. Some people like to act as if we are still using flintlock rifles.

It’s a simple pull of the trigger. No pouring, measuring and praying.

Nidal Hassan used a semi-automatic pistol called the FN Five-seven. Throughout his rampage, he was able to kill 13 and wound 38 soldiers. Dylann Roof killed nine people with a 45-caliber Glock handgun because of a flaw in the background check performed during the purchase of his weapon.

Omar Mateen used a Sig Sauer MCX and a Glock 17, 9mm semi-automatic pistol and was still able to kill 49 people while injuring 53 others. He was able to purchase these weapons even when he had previously been on an FBI terror watch list.

When will the excuses stop? Yes, people are absolutely right. The M4 I used during my deployment has an important feature that the AR-15 does not, a three-round burst, but that doesn’t make it a water gun.

Let’s not take away access to these type of firearms to those who can legally obtain and responsibly own them. What we need is reform to try to keep all firearms away from people who might do others harm.

It’s time to start saving lives across the country.

Opinion columnist Frank Campos is a media production senior and can be reached at [email protected]

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