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Backgrounder on Smith & Wesson M&P15 Assault Rifle Used in Mass Shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida

WASHINGTON -

Following news reports that the AR-15 style rifle used in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida was a Smith & Wesson M&P15 assault rifle, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) today released Understanding the Smith & Wesson M&P15 Semiautomatic Assault Rifle

According to the VPC backgrounder, “The Smith & Wesson M&P15 assault rifle demonstrates the clear and present danger of a gun designed for war and ruthlessly marketed for profit to civilians.”  

The same model assault rifle was also used in an attack that left 12 dead at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado in 2012 and in a mass shooting at a community center in San Bernardino, California in 2015 that left 14 dead.

The VPC backgrounder (https://www.vpc.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/FloridashootingSmithWesson.pdf) details the history and profit motive behind Smith & Wesson’s introduction into the civilian market of its M&P15 semiautomatic assault rifles in 2006 as well as the company’s financial support of the National Rifle Association (which in May 2013 was honored by the NRA at its annual meeting for donating at least a million dollars to the organization). It then explains the history, distinguishing features, and lethal capabilities of assault rifles like the M&P15. The backgrounder includes production data for the rifle as well as quotes from Smith & Wesson’s (now known as American Outdoor Brands Corp.) filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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The Violence Policy Center (VPC) works to stop gun death and injury through research, education, advocacy, and collaboration. Founded in 1988 by Executive Director Josh Sugarmann, a native of Newtown, Connecticut, the VPC informs the public about the impact of gun violence on their daily lives, exposes the profit-driven marketing and lobbying activities of the firearms industry and gun lobby, offers unique technical expertise to policymakers, organizations, and advocates on the federal, state, and local levels, and works for policy changes that save lives.

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