Florida Shooter Legally Purchased AR-15 Rifle

The Associated Press reports:

A law enforcement official is telling The Associated Press that a former student who killed 17 people at a Florida school legally purchased his AR-15 rifle about a year ago. The official is familiar with the investigation into the school shooting but not authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Federal law allows people 18 and over to legally purchase long guns. At 21, people can legally buy handguns from a licensed dealer.

An attorney representing the family who had taken in Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz says they’re shocked by what happened and had no idea he was planning anything. Jim Lewis told The Associated Press on Thursday that Cruz began living with the family after his mother died in November. He said Cruz was quiet and very respectful but also sad. Lewis says Cruz had an AR-15 rifle in the home with them but it was kept in a locked cabinet.

USA Today reports:

A Las Vegas concert. An Orlando night club. An elementary school in Newtown, Conn. A Texas church. And now a high school in Parkland, Fla. America’s most popular weapon was there for all of them.

AR-15-style rifles have increasingly appeared in American mass shootings, including the deadliest high school shooting in the nation’s modern history at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Wednesday. The National Rifle Association has called the AR-15 the “most popular rifle in America” and estimates Americans own more than 8 million of them.

The NRA said “the AR-15 has soared in popularity” because it’s “customizable, adaptable, reliable and accurate.” It is also versatile and can be used for “sport shooting, hunting and self-defense situations,” the NRA said, adding the ability to “personalize” so many of the rifle’s components “is one of the things that makes it so unique.”