NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The family of the man who invented the AR-15 rifle said he never intended to have that weapon be used for civilians.
The family of Eugene Stoner, who designed the original AR-15 rifle in the late 1950s, told NBC News he would be “horrified and sickened” by these mass shootings.READ MORE: Caught On Video: Gunmen Open Fire On Man Sitting In Barber Chair In The Bronx
“Our father, Eugene Stoner, designed the AR-15 and subsequent M-16 as a military weapon to give our soldiers an advantage over the AK-47,” the Stoner family said. “He died long before any mass shootings occurred. But, we do think he would have been horrified and sickened as anyone, if not more by these events.”
Stoner’s family said the ex-Marine didn’t own an AR-15.READ MORE: Woman Groped While Shopping At Macy's In Brooklyn
“After many conversations with him, we feel his intent was that he designed it as a military rifle,” his family said, adding that he was “focused on making the most efficient and superior rifle possible for the military.”
NBC News reported that the semi-automatic version of the AR-15 became popular for civilians after Stoner’s death at the age of 74 in 1997.
Orlando nightclub gunman Omar Mateen used an AR-15-style rifle during his massacre at the gay nightclub Pulse early Sunday morning, killing 49 people. Mateen legally purchased the weapon despite previously being investigated by the FBI over possible terrorist ties.MORE NEWS: Subway Rider Shoved Onto Tracks After Fighting Off Attempted Robber, Police Say
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., filibustered for nearly 15 hours for stricter gun control legislation. Murphy hails from the state where the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre took place when on Dec. 14, 2013, Adam Lanza used an AR-15-style weapon to kill 26 people, including 20 children.