AR-15 weapon at center of gun control debate

Posted: Updated:
WOODBURY -

The semi-automatic AR-15 is a weapon much of the gun control debate has been centered around.

Scott Beigel was a geography teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and one of 17 people murdered when a lone gunman opened fire in February. Police say the 35-year-old was shot a total of six times in less than three seconds and was most likely dead before hitting the ground. The killer's weapon of choice, an AR-15.

The weapon is the same used in some of the deadliest mass shootings in recent history, including Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Texas, San Bernardino, and Newtown, Connecticut. However, the fact is, many Long Islanders legally own AR-15 style guns.

Edward Newman from Dark Storm Industries in Oakdale manufactures about 3,000 of the weapons each year and claims they're no more dangerous than any other consumer-grade firearm.

Experts say the AR-15 is most similar to a military grade M-4, with one key difference, the M-4 has fully automatic capabilities.

As for the AR-15 sporter, the gun only shoots in semi-automatic mode, which means just one bullet fires with every pull of the trigger.

Instead of focusing on firearms, some say they want authorities to hone in on the people who commit these horrific acts of violence and prevent them from getting guns in the first place.

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