Much of the recent gun control debate focuses on the AR-15, the most popular rifle in America — and the same model of rifle that the shooter in the Newtown, Conn., massacre used on Friday to gun down 26 people, including 20 children age 6 and 7.
Gun control advocates can’t imagine why any law-abiding citizen would want or need a powerful, military-style gun like the AR-15. But among gun enthusiasts the followers number in the millions.
More than three million Americans own an AR-15. Gun store owners say buyers like it because it’s the civilian version of the fearsome M-16 used by the U.S. military. And its futuristic appearance has it playing a starring role in American pop culture, appearing as the gun of choice in movies and video games.