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NPR's Insane Claim About What an AR-15 Does to the Human Body

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

National Public Radio reporting on AR-15s and the ammunition used to fire one turned some heads after the outlet claimed the sporting rifle is "designed" to "blow targets apart" and "its bullets travel with such velocity that they can decapitate an adult."


NPR then switched gears to report about the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers last week.

NPR included a link to The Intercept which cited a report about the effects of using M-16s during the Vietnam War:

"The AR-15, which is the weapon used by the gunman at Robb Elementary, is designed to blow targets apart. It's a weapon built for war. And when fired into a human adult body, its bullets travel with such fierce velocity that they can decapitate a person, or leave a body looking 'like a grenade went off in there,' as Peter Rhee, a trauma surgeon at the University of Arizona, told Wired. The carnage the weapon leaves behind has become a signature of school shootings and other mass shootings across the country."


It is no secret that firearms and bullets have detrimental effects on the human body. However, claiming a .223 round can "decapitate" someone from one shot is irresponsible. 

Given enough time and rounds, you can destroy a human body but the impression to the average NPR reader is that AR-15s have the same power as a .50 caliber rifle. This is exemplified by how .223 rounds are not used to take down large animals such as a bear. If one was to kill a bear in self-defense out in the country, you would have a rifle that shoots one round that packs much more punch.

Guns are deadly, there is no doubt about that. But, fear-mongering about its capabilities to push a narrative to railroad gun control legislation is despicable. 

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