The AR-15 rifle returns to spotlight after murder-suicide

Posted at: 12/24/2012 6:20 PM
Updated at: 12/24/2012 6:35 PM
By: Lily Jamali

ALBANY - Pat Populizio owns Taylor & Vadney Sporting Goods, where business was brisk on Christmas Eve.
One of their bestsellers has been the AR-15 rifle - a favorite among sportsmen.

While the AR-15 is similar to the M-16, the AR-15 is a semi-automatic weapon, where one pull of the trigger is needed to release each bullet.

The M-16, on the other hand, is an automatic weapon, meaning one pull fires multiple clips come out until the magazine is empty.

The Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 limited some of the features found on the AR-15.

"Before the stock fold legally. Now it cannot," said Populizio. "A flash hider, which the AR-15 does not have, was made illegal after the ban."

While the ban expired in most parts of the country, it's remained in effect in New York State.

A background check is required to buy an AR-15 but no permit is required.

The AR-15 is in the spotlight after the Newtown massacre earlier this month, and Schaghticoke's murder-suicide on Sunday.

The popular rifle was used in both.

At Taylor & Vadney, the owner says he's removed a sign advertising the AR-15 out of respect for Sandy Hook victims.

After that tragedy, Governor Cuomo vowed to address what he calls significant loopholes in our state's gun laws.

A gun owner who only gave his first name, Jeff, says he doubts changes to gun laws will deter those determined to kill.

"If they can't get their hands on a weapon, they'll use the next thing on the list," Jeff said.