It Only Took This Woman 7 Minutes to Buy an AR-15 Assault Rifle
It only took Philadelphia journalist Helen Ubiñas seven minutes to purchase a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle, the apparent favorite of mass shooters in the United States. The style of assault rifle was used in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the Aurora, CO, movie theater shooting in 2012, and the recent San Bernardino shooting; and on Sunday, another variation of the AR-type weapon was used in the massacre at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL.
The entire process of Ubiñas's AR-15 purchase, excluding the pleasantries she exchanged with gun store patrons and employees, happened more quickly than it took Anderson Cooper to read the names of the victims slain in Orlando. The selection, background check, and payment took only seven minutes in total.
"The AR-15 is on display in the window of the gun shop," Ubiñas recalls in her column about the experience for the Philadelphia Media Network. "It is being promoted as the gun of the week." Ubiñas goes on to describe the simplicity of the purchasing process, her discomfort about the gun seller's nonchalance a mere day after a mass shooting that killed 49 and injured more than 50 others, and her quest to rid herself of her newly purchased weapon. Spoiler alert: turning the rifle over to Philadelphia police took longer than it took for her to buy the weapon.
In the scheme of the 50 states, it is relatively easy to buy an assault rifle in Pennsylvania — as Ubiñas proved with her brief visit to the arms store, it's simpler than most quick meals if you've got money and an ID.
Gun control advocates and the loved ones of mass-shooting victims seek to change the ease with which such weapons are purchased in the United States, but the current slate of presidential hopefuls fall on varying sides of the debate. How do you feel about domestic access to guns? Read Ubiñas's full account of her own experience for more details, then figure out which political candidates' views align with your own before November's big election.