AR-15 assault rifle used in Orlando nightclub massacre, other mass shootings

Hollywood gun store owner defends 'weapon of war'

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – What do the mass shootings at Pulse Orlando, Sandy Hook Elementary, San Bernardino and Aurora have in common?

The shooters all chose an AR-15 assault rifle, considered the deadliest weapon on the market.

Pulse shooting suspect Omar Mateen bought his AR-15 and a pistol from a Port St. Lucie gun dealer just days before his killing spree in Orlando.

AR-15s were illegal in the U.S. before the assault weapon ban lapsed in 2004. U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida, said she wants to see that change.

"I'm in favor of reinstating the assault rifle ban," she said.

But Republicans in Congress are dead set against a ban.

Most gun dealers wouldn't speak to Local 10 News, but Walter Philbrick at the 911 Store in Hollywood did.

"Why should these guns remain legal?" Local 10 investigative reporter Bob Norman asked.

"It's not the gun that causes the problem," Philbrick said. "It's the shooter behind the firearm."

Philbrick said the AR-15 is a "weapon of war designed to kill a lot of people fast."

"So you take these out and those body counts are going to go down," Norman said.

"OK, so you have 35 dead rather than 50," Philbrick said.

"Talk to the 15 that are still alive," Norman said.

"Good point," Philbrick said. "Good point."