Eugene Stoner, the inventor of the original AR-15, designed the weapon specifically for the U.S. military. Stoner was an ex-marine, and after many years of silence, the Stoner family spoke out about the intent of their father’s invention on June 16, 2016.
“Our father, Eugene Stoner, designed the AR-15 and subsequent M-16 as a military weapon to give our soldiers an advantage over the AK-47,” the Stoner family told NBC News. “He died long before any mass shootings occurred. But, we do think he would have been horrified and sickened as anyone, if not more by these events.”
NBC News’ exclusive with the Stoner family also revealed that, “The ex-Marine and “avid sportsman, hunter and skeet shooter” never used his invention for sport. He also never kept it around the house for personal defense. In fact, he never even owned one.
And though he made millions from the design, his family said it was all from military sales.”
“After many conversations with him, we feel his intent was that he designed it as a military rifle,” his family said, explaining that Stoner was “focused on making the most efficient and superior rifle possible for the military.”
He designed the original AR-15 in the late 1950s, working on it in his own garage and later as the chief designer for ArmaLite, a then small company in southern California. He made it light and powerful and he fashioned a new bullet for it — a .223 caliber round capable of piercing a metal helmet at 500 yards.
The Army loved it and renamed it the M16.
But after Stoner’s death in 1997, at the age of 74, a semi-automatic version of the AR-15 became a civilian bestseller, too, spawning dozens of copy-cat weapons. The National Rifle Association has taken to calling it “America’s rifle.”
The bullets that tore through the Pulse nightclub in Orlando were Stoner’s .223 rounds, fired from a AR-15 spin off made by Sig Sauer.
In all, an AR-15 style rifle has been used in at least 10 recent mass shootings — including at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and a work party in San Bernardino, California.
“What has happened, good or bad, since his patents have expired is a result of our free market system,” Stoner’s family said. “Currently, a more interesting question is ‘Who now is benefiting from the manufacturing and sales of AR-15s, and for what uses?'” (Courtesy: NBC News)
This question, posed by those who knew the inventor better than anyone, has now sent a much needed shockwave of wake-up calls across the country about the so-called American favorite “sporting gun”. Clearly, the AR-15 was neither designed for self defense nor sport, but for assault.
M. Kita Williams