The family of Eugene Stoner, the creator of the AR-15, said their father never intended for the weapon to be used by civilians.
“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 told NBC News. “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, a U.S. Marine turned firearms engineer, led the design team that created the AR-15, adopted for use by the U.S. military as the M16 rifle in the late 1950s. Stoner died in 1997.
His family has not previously addressed his creation, a semi-automatic version of which has been used in as many as 10 mass shootings, including Sunday’s night’s at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. Forty-nine people were killed at the gay dance club, making it the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
Stoner’s family said their father and grandfather never owned an AR-15, believing its creation was only the military. Money he earned from sales of the rifle was all from the military, they added.