The family of the man who invented the AR-15 rifle says the weapon was never meant to be used by civilians.
"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."
The family said Stoner would have agreed the weapon is a tool of war. Stoner was an "avid sportsman, hunter and skeet shooter" but never used the AR-15 for sport, nor did he keep it for personal defense.
"After many conversations with him, we feel his intent was that he designed it as a military rifle," his family said.
After Stoner died, the semi-automatic version of the AR-15 began gaining popularity with civilians, NBC reported.
The shooter in Sunday's Orlando nightclub attack used a Sig Sauer MCX — a rifle similar to the AR-15. The attack killed 49 people and wounded 53 more, making it the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
The civilian version of the AR-15 has been used in mass shootings in the country in the past, including in the attacks in Newtown, Conn., and San Bernardino, Calif.
"What has happened, good or bad, since his patents have expired is a result of our free market system," Stoner's family said.
"Currently, a more interesting question is 'Who now is benefiting from the manufacturing and sales of AR-15s, and for what uses?' "