In the 1950s, an unknown gun designer named Eugene Stoner invented the AR-15 rifle in Southern California. His creation changed the world. The patriotic Stoner sought to devise a lightweight, easy-to-use gun to give U.S. soldiers and their allies an edge in the Cold War. But today his invention has become the weapon used by mass shooters and extremists to attack the country Stoner loved. The gun that gave this quiet man such pride is now the focus of our nation's bitter debate over the role of guns in our society. American Gun: The True Story of The AR-15 tells ― for the first time ― the complete, strange, and bloody story of how a device created to help America ended up killing Americans in schools, movie theaters, businesses, malls, and concerts. The AR-15’s saga involves Pentagon infighting, life-threatening rifle malfunctions, John Wayne, spies, a cigar-chomping, watermelon-shooting general, cult members, radical activists on the right and the left, senators, presidents, disturbed young men, gunmakers hunting for profits, and far too many victims. American Gun’s story is about people, from Stoner, the inventor, to Marine Fred Monahan, who had to fight in a foreign jungle with a gun that wouldn't shoot, to Valerie Kallis-Weber, whose life was forever changed by two bullets from an AR-15.
Video: Inventor Eugene Stoner in promotional film for AR-15 precursor; M16 military training film; armed protestors; police bodycam footage of 2023 attack on Nashville school.