Yes, just less than 38 minutes to purchase AR-15 magazines and then walk out of a gun shop with a semi-automatic machine gun.
Only two days after Omar Mateen used a semi-automatic rifle to massacre 49 people and injure dozens more, two reporters for the Huffington Post, Andy Campbell and Roque Planas were able to purchase an AR-15 — a rifle similar to Mateen’s in less time than it takes to buy a cart your weekly groceries. Here’s an excerpt from their gun shopping,
We would have been locked and loaded within five minutes, but the gun shop employee we spoke to said the queue on background checks was longer than usual because people were scrambling to buy AR-15s in the wake of the shooting. That’s both terrifying and unsurprising — gun sales often skyrocket after mass shootings.
But the ease with which we purchased our AR-15, a Vietnam-era gun hailed by the military as being the perfect killing machine, was surreal. This, despite the fact that Florida Gov. Rick Scott had declared a state of emergency in Orange County, which includes Orlando.
Gun shop employees were happy to discuss lethality. When another customer looking to purchase a small, .22-caliber handgun noted that it wouldn’t fare well against a “6-foot-3, 350 pound man,” the employee agreed.
“You’d have to hit him in the neck or the heart.”
Said the employee, whom we aren’t naming for this story.
He went on to joke with the customer that he should either pick a bigger gun or use the .22 to
“shoot him in the stomach 15 times, that’d really piss him off.”
Behind him, the TV blared Fox News coverage of the massacre at Pulse nightclub, located nearby. On the wall, a framed photo of President Barack Obama with the caption, “Firearm Salesman Of The Year,” hung next to an array of other long rifles, some of them higher caliber than the AR-15, and some of them more affordable, too.
They’re not the cheapest rifles around — another, higher-caliber carbine hung on the wall at our shop for half the price. But the National Rifle Association calls the AR-15 the most popular weapon in the U.S. “It is customizable, adaptable, reliable and accurate,” the organization says on its blog.
Shop workers told us we’d have to wait if we wanted to buy a smaller gun. There’s a three-day waiting period for handgun purchases in Florida, but that rule does not apply to rifles.
The AR-15 and its close cousins are not made to hunt deer. They’re made to kill people.
All it took to attain one was a driver’s license (the one we used was from out of state) and a few minutes to wait for the background check to clear. We signed state-issued proof of sale documents that asked whether we were felons or drug addicts, and where we lived.
Waiting for the background check was the hardest part — and that only involved a few minutes of idle time. We requested data from the state Department of Law Enforcement on the current volume of background checks for similar guns, but did not get an immediate response. The department has been overwhelmed by public records requests since the shooting, a spokeswoman said.
They plan to return the gun.
If you ask me the NRA is a terrorist organization. I have wondered if gun owners would trade their guns for the lives of the 27 people at Sandy Hook or the 49 killed at Pulse. Somehow, I think not. This issue has come to a head now and we need new legislation. I started this meme on Sunday which I have been sharing on social media. You may not like it. I don’t care. If you agree, share it with the hashtag. #AssholesLoveGuns
(Photos, Andy Campbell; via Huffington Post)