Retired ATF agent says AR-15 rifles should be regulated like machine guns

David Chipman, a retired Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agent, on Monday said AR-15 rifles should be regulated like machine guns. 

“What I support is treating them just like machine guns,” Chipman, who is now a senior policy adviser at Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, told Hill.TV’s Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball on “Rising.” 

“To me, if you want to have a weapon of war, the same gun that was issued to me as a member of [the] ATF SWAT team, it makes sense that you would have to pass a background check, the gun would have to be in your name, and there would be a picture and fingerprints on file,” he continued. 

“To me, I don’t mind doing it if I want to buy a gun. These policies just protect the criminal. Like, I don’t think you should be able to anonymously purchase 20 AR-15s at one time, and the government shouldn’t know,” he said. “I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all that you have to pass a background check to own a weapon of war.” 

The AR-15 is not currently classified as an assault weapon, otherwise known as a machine gun.

The National Firearms Act put strict guidelines in place for machine gun manufacturers and require that owners register their weapons. 

In order to purchase and own a machine gun, owners must go through background checks and allow the federal government to conduct searches. 

The suspect in last week’s Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, which left 11 people dead, was armed with various guns including an AR-15 style rifle. 

Gun control advocates have repeatedly called for regulations on the weapons, which have been involved in various mass shootings including the Parkland, Fla., shooting in February, the Las Vegas country music concert shooting last year, and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. 

— Julia Manchester

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