Much of America’s conversation about gun control centers around the AR-15, a lightweight, semi-automatic style of rifle that includes various makes and models that all bear similarities to the assault rifles developed for the military in the 1950s. While handguns are more common on the whole, AR-15s play a prominent role in American mass shootings. 60 Minutes released an investigative report probing what makes the AR-15 different and more deadly.
Reporter Scott Pelley met with ballistics experts who demonstrated, using state-of-the-art gel made to mimic the density of a human body, the devastating effects an AR-15 bullet has on shooting victims.
Ryland Ward was only 5 when he was shot 5 times in church in Texas. Doctors estimate he had lost half of his blood by the time he reached trauma surgeon Lillian Liao at San Antonio’s University hospital. Ryland has had 24 surgeries since. pic.twitter.com/KsaV1SRsiD
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) November 5, 2018
While bullets from a handgun passed through the gel in a relatively straight line before emerging on the other side, AR-15 bullets struck with far more force before exploding within the body, scattering shrapnel, and emerging out at unexpected angles.
According to USC professor Cynthia Bir: “Bones aren’t gonna just break, they’re going to shatter.”
I took a bullet from an AR15 through both of my thighs. I was very lucky to survive because it severed an artery. I was also lucky that i didn’t loose my leg. This weapon should be either kept off the street or at least make it harder for the bad guys to purchase this gun.
— Denise Slaughter (@banditgal) November 5, 2018
60 Minutes reported that most people shot with an AR-15 die fairly quickly due to blood loss, and that most hospitals aren’t equipped or prepared to handle wounds caused by the weapon because the weapon, designed specifically to kill, is relatively uncommon outside of extremely malicious situations like mass shootings.
Twitter was shocked at the destructive nature of the weapon:
I don't see any earthly reason civilians should have weapons that inflict that sort of injury, especially weapons designed for use against other humans.
— Suzi Peek (@SJPeek) November 5, 2018
Perhaps it is time to start taking the news cameras into the crime scenes and then showing the COMPLETE footage, all the gore and destruction, in color, and show during the nightly news. Lets see people defend the AR15 then.
— M. Casper (@VinceCamp5) November 5, 2018
Everyone in our country should see this. I was dumbfounded when I realized exactly how devastating a wound from this is. There is no earthly reason for ANYONE to have one! GUN CONTROL!!
— Juana (@juanabean) November 5, 2018
For many, seeing what happens inside the body when an AR-15 shell hit was reason enough to advocate for stricter gun control:
No one needs either of these-handguns or AR-15s at their disposal.
This gun stuff is totally bonkers.
— 🇨🇦 Lindsay 🇨🇦 (@LindsayDianne) November 5, 2018
The assult rifle ban did not stop shootings but did lower them pic.twitter.com/9aonjt3YbG
— Ethan Spears (@Ethanspears8) November 5, 2018
Awful what kids and others have to do through due to the destruction of guns.
— Donna Pare (@DonnaPare3) November 5, 2018
Military Weapons Don't Belong In Civilians Hands.
— Denise Murray 🌊💙🌊 (@DeniseMMurray) November 5, 2018
Among high-income countries, America ranks first in gun homicide rates by an incredibly wide margin. Also, despite holding only 5% of the world’s population, the U.S. houses 31% of the world’s mass shooters. Change must be made to protect human life in the United States.