After every mass shooting, politicians and Facebook pundits alike ask the same question: Why even own such a weapon?
Last year, The Dallas Morning News interviewed many local AR-15 owners, but few wanted to be named despite moderate, measured views. They feel the voice of reasonable gun owners is being ignored, but they worried that they would get backlash from employers or be depicted as radicals.
“I think as a community, we’ve been burned so many times,” said Ben Allen, a U.S. Army veteran from Denton who owns four AR-15s. “Everyone else gets drowned out.”
Here’s what Allen and three other North Texans said about their AR-15s.
Ben Allen, Denton
“A lot of it is perception. People don’t know the difference between this and an M-4 … . If we want meaningful change, we need to fix what we already have. Finding the right way forward takes that respectful discussion.”
Daley Laurel, Blue Ridge
“I had shot AR-15s many times before, but shooting your own, cleaning your own, knowing you have that kind of awesome power in your hand—it’s an adrenaline rush for sure … It’s like riding a roller coaster, but different. You don’t feel scared anymore.”
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Colion Noir, Dallas
“It looks dramatic. There’s a lot of theatrics with an AR-15 … If you have an ignorant perspective of the AR-15, what you end up with is a terrified public … The very reasons they want to condemn it are the same reasons I want it.”
Ro Carter, Frisco
“It’s versatile, it’s manageable, it’s excellent for defense, it’s excellent for sport shooting … Why do you buy health insurance? Why do you buy life insurance? It’s all the same thing.”