MSNBC host Yasmin Vossoughian claimed Saturday the United States military distributes AR rifles to new recruits and that obtaining one is as easy as joining the military.
While speaking with network host Alex Witt, Vossoughian claimed that she spoke to a military veteran in Uvalde who allegedly told her the military gave him an AR-style rifle when he joined.
Recounting her conversation with the alleged veteran, Vossoughian said she asked him, "Should an 18-year old be able to buy an AR?"
"'Absolutely not,' he tells me. I said, 'What is an AR used for anyway? I know this is Texas. I know people like their guns in Texas. People own guns in Texas, we know that coming to this state, right?' This guy owns multiple guns, he goes out and hunts, and he said there is no use for a regular layman to have an AR. No use at all," Vossoughian claimed.
"Yeah. No. There’s not," Witt agreed.
"If you want to shoot an AR for fun, go join the military, that’s what he said to me. Go join the military if you want to shoot an AR," Vossoughian said again.
Is that true?
No, the U.S. military does not distribute AR-15 rifles — or any AR-style rifle for that matter — to new recruits.
Most recruits who attend basic training undergo weapons instruction with an M16 or M4 rifle, machine guns like the M249 or M240 or M2, and maybe even various grenade launchers. Firearms used by military personnel are government property, and they are closely tracked. Thus military firearms cannot be used for any purpose other than that for which they have been assigned.
Importantly, most rifles used in the military, like the M16 or M4 for example, are bona fide assault rifles because they are selective fire weapons, which means operators can fire in either semi-automatic (in which only one round is fired per trigger pull) mode or fully automatic (in which the firearm continues to fire until all available ammunition has been expelled) mode.
On the other hand, AR-style rifles available for civilian purchase are semi-automatic only. They merely look like and have cosmetic features similar to the assault rifles used by the military.