Firearm used in Dayton Domestic/Mass Murder was an AM 15 Pistol

Image is from Powerpoint presentation given by Dayton Police Chief Biehl on 4 August, 2019. Image scaled by Dean Weingarten
Image is from Powerpoint presentation given by Dayton Police Chief Biehl on 4 August, 2019. Image scaled by Dean Weingarten

Arizona -( The mass murder in Dayton Ohio appears to have started with the killing of the perpetrator’s sister and the wounding of her boyfriend. Several rampage murders have started with the killing of relatives. Ideologically motivated rampage murders seldom do.  Images of the firearm used have been released by the Dayton Police Department.

The firearm appears to be a pistol customized from an Anderson AM-15 lower receiver and other parts, including a blade arm brace. The AM-15 is not a typo. The AM stands for Anderson Manufacturing. The AM-15 was ordered from Texas, online, and delivered to a local Ohio federal firearms dealer. It is unknown where the other parts were added to the receiver. They could have been added in Texas, or they could have been added by the murderer. A receiver can be made into different types of firearms, depending on what parts are added.

The AR in AR-15 stands for ArmaLite Rifle, or for the first two letters of ARmaLite. The system was invented by Eugene Stoner in 1955. Over the last 64 years, Americans have come to realize the advantages of the AR system. After the patents ran out in 1977, numerous companies made parts for AR-pattern firearms. Most of the parts are interchangeable. As noted on the AM-15 lower receiver, different calibers can be used with the system, with appropriate changes of the upper receiver, bolt head, and magazines.

The legal definition of a pistol in the United States includes AR-15 type pistols.

Because of the bizarre law involved in the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1932, and later interpretations, there are several types of firearms defined by law. Rifles must have a rifled barrel of at least 16 inches in length. Shotguns must have a barrel at least 18 inches in length. Both rifles and shotguns have to be designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a stock.

Firearms that are not designed to be fired from the shoulder, but are over 26 inches in length, can be designated “firearms”.

Pistols must be designed to be fired with one hand, without a stock. Firearms that have a stock and a rifled barrel less than 16 inches in length are called short-barreled rifles (SBRs). Shotguns that have a stock and a barrel less than 18 inches in length are called short-barreled shotguns (SBSs).

If a firearm is designed to be fired with one hand, it can have a pistol brace attached to aid in firing it with one hand. The AM-15 appears to have a pistol brace attached to the buffer tube of the pistol. The barrel is too short to be considered a rifle. Because there is no stock, the firearm is a pistol, not an SBR.

This illustrates how ridiculous the National Firearms Act of 1932 and its regulations have become.

There isn’t any logical reason to legally differentiate between a pistol over 26 inches long and a rifle or shotgun or any other firearm over 26 inches long.

The 26-inch figure is a rough measure, a dividing line between concealable and less concealable firearms.

The divide exists because long guns are seldom used in a crime, while handguns are routinely used in crime.  The push for citizen disarmament, in the 1960s, was to register and ban handguns. The citizens were repeatedly told that no one was interested in registering and banning rifles or shotguns.

Two things changed that. First, Josh Sugarman of the Violence Policy Center hit on the idea of pushing for a ban on “assault weapons” in 1988. He did so, he stated because the public could be manipulated to confuse “assault weapons” with machine guns. The media took up the cause, and mass killing with firearms started climbing. Twenty years later, in 2008, the Supreme Court confirmed the Second Amendment protected an individual right to keep and bear arms. The Heller case, which confirmed Second Amendment rights, was about handguns.

This presents a conundrum for those pushing for a disarmed population.  Handguns are obviously protected arms under the Second Amendment, as written in Heller. Any fair reading of Heller shows all bearable arms are protected, but those pushing for a disarmed population try to limit the case to handguns.

To do an end-run around the Second Amendment, activists push for a ban on semi-automatic rifles, while specifically excluding semi-automatic pistols, as in the current petition to amend the Florida state constitution.

The AM-15 found in Dayton shows how impractical such a ban would be. It illustrates how silly the entire NFA was and has become.

All the legalisms about barrel lengths and stocks should be scrapped. If legislators believe concealable weapons pose more of a threat because they are used in crime more frequently, they could reform the law to make concealability the criteria.

The 26-inch length is already part of the law. If we are to continue the dubious distinction between concealable and not concealable, let us draw the line at 26 inches. More than 26 inches, it should fall under the current rules for rifles and shotguns. Less than 26 inches, call it concealable.

Better yet, repeal those restrictions. They never made much sense. If you are forbidden from owning a firearm, you are forbidden from carrying one. If you can own one, you should be able to carry it without further legal requirements.

Such a system, called Constitutional Carry, is the law in 16 states. Crime rates in those states have not been affected.

About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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Not to quibble Dean, but the National Firearms Act was 1934, not 1932. It drives me nuts that so many politicians who “should” know the laws and constitution are totally ignorant of both. In the past few days I have heard calls from Democrat Presidential candidates to ban semi-automatic and automatic weapons. NFA of 1934 not only defined weapons (and suppressors) but regulated the ownership of machine guns and suppressors. NFA is where the tax stamp and additional, in depth background checks originated. The Gun Control Act of 1968 banned mail order firearms sales (direct to consumers), required that ALL… Read more »


Why is it that when they say an assault rifle or military style weapon have no legitimate purpose in civilian hands, no one speaks up? That is fundamentally what the 2A is about, keeping effective arms in the hands of civilians to insure the people continue to rule. Which no one wants to think about, I guess. Nothing in the wording about hunting, competition, target practice, collecting or even self-defense. Here’s what Heller says, in part: Held: 1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm… Read more »

Scotty Gunn

I expect them to ban the wrist brace exemption, making all those ar pistols illegal NFA overnight. Better line up to file thise tax stamps at $200 each. Just to keep your currently legal gun.
Magazine capacity restriction is coming. They will try.
Some kind of registration on “assault” weapons, too.


Anyone that is of legal age and is too dangerous to own/carry firearms should be locked up, full stop! If they are a danger to the public with firearms, they are still a danger with cars, knives, hammers, clubs, etc. That nutball in France took out 87 people with a truck! Guns of any kind aren’t the problem, the problem is nutballs that should be locked up1


I’m curious what the compliance rate would be if they pushed pistols into NFA. It would be sad to make so many criminals out of previously law abiding citizens. If one were trying to comply, would it be sufficient to take apart the upper and lower while waiting (a year!) for tax stamp approval or would that constitute constructive possession? Given current aggressive gun control push, I doubt that pistol braces would be pushed into NFA – I suspect that proposals will all be along lines of outlawing all pistol versions of any rifle regardless whether they have a brace… Read more »

Wild Bill

@Finn, I know what my compliance rate would be. Here is the plan. I have a neighbor that has never bought a gun in her life so no law enforcement agency would have any reason go go to her house. Her weakness is that she rescues horses from slaughter. She needs hay. I have hay.
Now, there has to be a joke about hay purchases and straw purchases in there somewhere!


Let’s not fall into the trap of “glorifying” or focusing on the weapon in lieu of the actions of the individual, regardless of the tool. This is the strategy used by the left/anti-gun crowd and we should hammer the fact that the individual is the problem no matter what type, brand, configuration the tool was that was used by the perpetrator. How many people were killed by airplanes on 9/11 hijacked by individuals with BOX CUTTERS? How many people were killed during the Boston Marathon by individuals using home-made bombs? How many people are killed by individuals purposely driving a… Read more »


I think the reason why Dean brought up that the Dayton killer used a pistol. The Left is crying out for an “assault weapons” ban so the Dayton killer’s gun would NOT have been banned and the shooting still would have happened.


Otice the two canister magazines? Prob 40-60 each. I can “hear” calls to ban such high capacity mags.

Ej harbet

100 round beta c-mag not something id use but id never want them banned. The aurora theater pos used asian copies of the beta mag which jammed his weapon.that wouldve been the time to pop his melon with a jhp


The NFA came about only because of public opinion, fostered by politicians and media outlets on an agenda. The Supremes recently had an opportunity to address these infringements and refused cert.

The NFA further created a small taxing department formed under the IRS, now mushroomed into another bloated alphabet agency (ATF).

It should be no surprise then to witness politicians and media outlets use the recent acts of violence by deranged individuals to push this same agenda, using phrases such as “gun violence”, assault weapons” and “weapons of war” to sway public opinion resulting in more infringements.


Dean, you said ” repeal those restrictions”, good idea.


Josh Sugarman, gun-banner extraordinaire maintains a rare, Class1 Federal Firearms License in Washington D.C. so he isn’t opposed to guns, he just doesn’t want you to have any.


The NFA and the myriad of infringing laws and regulations that followed…wait for it….infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms. Would 26 inches simplify life? Yes. Does your 26″ rule infringe on RKBA? Yes! Your 26″ compromise (compromise…look that up) does nothing for gun rights and does nothing for public safety or national security. Your proposed 26″ rule is a fail.

Wild Bill

@Baldwin, I concur, and would like to add that the GCA/NFA should not be amended, but rather should be repealed. Both lack substantive due process, ignore the preemptive character of the Second Amendment, and infringe on the People’s clearly written Civil Rights.

Green Mtn. Boy

@ Wild Bill

This ! Repeal both as they are both unConstitutional

moe mensale

Did you not read Dean’s 2nd to last paragraph? Why are you complaining?


Hi Moe. 2nd to last paragraph refers to restrictions and making sense. It is my firmly held belief that restrictions and making sense (especially the left’s “common” sense) is nothing more than yet more compromise, giving up more of our RKBA. We were referring to inches…well, my unalterable position IRT this is not one inch more. AND take back what has been lost. All of it. We should never, ever, suggest it is ok to give up any part of our RKBA.


2nd to last paragraph 1st sentence, “Better yet, repeal those restrictions.”

moe mensale

No! No! The other 2nd to last paragraph!


Here’s one thing about the shooting that isn’t reported anywhere and I’m surprised media and the left have not tried to capitalize on it.
It looks to me his sister was seeing a black man. Something about that triggered this maniac to shoot her, him and others around them.
Just a guess