An AR-15 style rifle is a lightweight semi-automatic rifle based on the ArmaLite AR-15 design, which is itself a scaled-down derivative of Eugene Stoner’s AR-10 design. The than Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation division ArmaLite sold the U.S. Patent 2,951,424 and trademarks to Colt’s Manufacturing Company in 1959, but after Colt’s gas operated bolt and carrier system patents expired in 1977, Colt retained the trademark and is the exclusive owner of the “AR-15” designation.
The Federal Assault Weapons Ban restricted the sale of the Colt AR-15 and some derivatives in the United States from 1994 to 2004, although it did not affect rifles with fewer listed features.
After the term modern sporting rifles was coined in 2009 by the US National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearms trade association, it was quickly adopted by much of the industry.
In the 2010s, AR-15 style rifles became one of the “most beloved and most vilified rifles” in the United States, according to The New York Times. The rifles are controversial in part due to their use in high-profile mass shootings. Promoted as “America’s rifle” by the National Rifle Association, AR-15 style rifles’ popularity is partially attributable to proposals to ban or restrict them