Reporter purchases an AR-15 to determine how easy it is
Helen Ubiñas, a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, set out to see what the experience of buying a semi-automatic weapon in this country actually looks like. It took her seven minutes to walk into a gun store and purchase an AR-15, the weapon of choice for mass shooters. It’s similar to* the weapon a shooter used in Orlando over the weekend to kill 49 Americans. It was also used to kill grade schoolers in Newtown, movie-goers in Aurora, and workers in San Bernardino.
And it took her seven minutes to buy.
“Seven minutes. From the moment I handed the salesperson my driver’s license to the moment I passed my background check,” she wrote in a story for The Inquirer. “It likely will take more time than that during the forthcoming round of vigils to respectfully read the names of the more than 100 people who were killed or injured.”
She recounts her thoughts driving to the purchase the weapon. She racked her brain for a reason to give the salesperson for her purchase, assuming it would seem odd to buy a weapon that just the day before was used to slaughter so many Americans: “I’m a woman who wants a rifle for safety reasons? I’m a gun enthusiast with a soft spot for military-style rifles? I’m a card-carrying member of the NRA who is afraid the government will be coming for my guns?”
Turns out she didn’t need a reason. The AR-15 was in the window, being promoted as “Gun of the Week.”
Gun of the Week.
The day before that gun had been used in the deadliest single shooter massacre in U.S. history. And it was “gun of the week.”
She asks what it will take to buy one, and the sales guy simply asks her if she is a U.S citizen with identification. All she needs to do is fill out some paperwork. “I’ve filled out more paperwork at the doctor’s office for a routine checkup than I did Monday afternoon,” Ubiñas writes. She filled out a page and a half of forms, got an instant background check, paid $759.99, and walked out of the store with the gun after some brief chit-chat with employees of the store who congratulated her for “thinking ahead” and buying the “most popular rifle in the country before there’s a run on the gun from nervous gun owners who fear a ban on them.”
“God bless America,” she writes. “No need for a concealed carry permit. No mandatory training, though the guys did give me a coupon for a free day pass for a local gun range. No need for even a moment to at least consider how gross all of this felt as relatives of the dead were still being notified.”
She walked out with the gun and then felt stumped as to what to do with it. She didn’t want it, but didn’t want it in anyone else’s hands either. She decided to turn it in to police.
It took longer to turn the gun into the city than it did to buy it.
*Arguing about what type of assault weapon the Orlando shooter used is the diversion I’m-totally-missing-the-point-on-purpose argument armchair gun specialists are making all over the internet. This is the assault rifle used by the Orlando shooter. It’s a Sig Sauer MCX, similar to an AR-15.