The Four Most Viral Media Myths About the Recent Orlando Terrorist Attack

On June 12, 2016, a terrorist attacked an Orlando nightclub killing 50 people, and injuring another 53 more. While it is a tragedy that so many innocent people lost their lives, gun control groups and the media have taken this as an opportunity to continue their crusade against AR-15’s, “military style assault weapons,” and other items they deem too scary to be owned by the common citizen. We asked Michele Byington, attorney at the law firm of Walker & Byington in Houston and a Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney, to separate fact from fiction.

Myth #1: What is an “Assault Rifle”

Michele said that if you were to read one of the hundreds of news items, blog posts, or Hillary Clinton interviews on this terrorist attack, you would be convinced that an “assault weapon” was used.

assault rifles

I don’t think those words mean what you think they mean.

Many news outlets are reporting that Omar Mateen used an AR-15; “AR,” in their minds, standing for “Assault Rifle.” But what does this term actually mean? “The terms ‘assault weapon’ and ‘assault rifle’ have different origins. The phrase assault weapon didn’t come around until the 80’s, when a California legislator first used the term in an attempt to have them banned,” Michele informed. She went on to say that, “with that said, ‘assault weapon’ is rooted in the term ‘assault rifle,’ which has referred to select-fire rifles since WWII.” Select-fire rifles are rifles that can fire in a fully automatic fashion (in simpler words, machineguns). Michele stated emphatically that a semi-automatic rifle, by definition, cannot be an assault rifle. “It seems like media outlets seem to decide if a gun is an assault rifle based on how scary it looks!”

Myth #2: Assault Rifle-15

The large majority of news outlets report the terrorist as using an AR-15; this seems to be part of the never ending war they seem to be waging on this item. What’s more infuriating is they are convinced the AR-15 is an Assault Rifle; surely that’s what “AR” stands for, right? “You would be shocked at how many media outlets don’t know what the ‘AR’ in AR-15 stands for,” Michele declared.

She explained that originally AR-15s were built by ArmaLite; ArmaLite abbreviated their own name to AR, and named their semi-automatic rifles accordingly. ArmaLite sold the design to Colt, and the rest is history; but the “AR” of AR-15 has always stuck. “But that won’t keep the media from calling an AR-15 an assault rifle!” Michele said.

Myth #3: The AR-15 used on Sunday Fires 700 Rounds Per Minute

Alan Grayson, during an interview, stated that if the shooter couldn’t have been able to buy an AR-15 that can shoot “700 Rounds Per Minute,” there would not be as many victims. “This is laughable. Ignoring the manual of the Bushmaster AR-15, which states that it has a maximum effective rate of fire of 45 rounds per minute, let’s examine the math on this one,” Michele said. “700 rounds, at 30 rounds a magazine, would require 24 magazines. 60 seconds in a minute, divided by the number of magazines, means he is emptying a magazine every two and a half seconds. That’s 12 rounds per second, assuming you had a magical AR-15 that automatically reloaded your magazines for you. For reference, Jerry Miculek, a record breaking speed shooter, shot 5 rounds in one second with an AR-15. I was no math major, but this statement of 700 rounds per minute doesn’t add up.”

While there are modifications that can be done to an AR-15, such as a bump fire stock, none of those were present in the shooting on Sunday because…

Myth #4: The Orlando shooter used an AR-15

…he didn’t even use an AR-15! That’s right. News outlets, blogs, and politicians are all clamoring over the AR-15, but the simple fact is he used a Sig Sauer MCX. Michele said that for the very few news sources that get the gun right, they say, “A Sig Sauer MCX, which is similar to an AR-15.” “There’s just no escaping it. The media and politicians really only know the phrase ‘AR-15,’ so their entire gun vocabulary revolves around one gun they don’t even understand.” Through hard hitting investigation, we uncovered a gun reference chart used by the majority of media outlets.


Michele closed by stating, “if we let the gun control lobby write their own story without fixing their mistakes, it won’t be long before they start believing their own lies and misinformation. Edmund Burke said that ‘the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’ I think that this applies in every aspect of our lives, especially when people are threatening your rights and liberties.”

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