Earl Curtis of Blue Ridge Arsenal in Chantilly, Va., says that people use assault rifles for sport

6:30 PM, Dec 18, 2012   |    comments
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CHANTILLY, Va.  (WUSA) - Dick's Sporting Goods has stopped selling assault weapons and Wal-Mart has pulled from its online store the Bushmaster assault rifle that was used in Newtown.

But other gun dealers are seeing a surge in sales on assault rifles.

More than three million Americans own an AR 15, the most popular rifle in America. At the Blue Ridge Arsenal in Chantilly, at least one gun owner practiced shooting his AR 15 on Tuesday.

"People shoot assault rifles for sport. For target practice, they're shooting paper, most of the people that come in here. It's a fun gun to shoot, it's easy," said Earl Curtis, the owner of Blue Ridge Arsenal.

Former Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachman has an AR 15 and has touted its effectiveness.

"My favorite gun is an AR 15 because you can be so accurate with it," said Bachman in an previous interview.

The AR15 is the civilian version of the M-16 used by military and its gun of choice in movies and videos.

But it's also been used in some of the worst mass shootings in history. Last week, a man used an AR 15 to kill two people at a shopping mall in Portland Oregon. In July, an AR 15 was used in the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado.

But it was Friday's slaying of 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School that has led to serious talk of a ban on the assault rifle.

"There's been talk of bans before. Every time a tragedy happens, they bring it up again. But, hopefully, common sense will prevail and our rights won't be infringed, "said Steve, a customer who did not want his last name used.

Many people are blaming Adam Lanza's mother for giving him access to the weapons he used.

"I would had those guns locked up. That's probably the mistake that she made. And if my son were mentally ill, I'd have gotten him help," said Curtis.

Gun enthusiasts seem to agree on a small measure of control. In Virginia, residents can obtain concealed weapons permits without even firing a gun. It's one of a handful of states that allows online courses for permits.

"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard of. I believe that anyone that wants to own a firearm to protect their family, they have to get hands-on trigger time," said Michael Bates, a firearms instructor.

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