Democrat Ruben Gallego Would Prohibit Arizonans From Buying AR-15s

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) walks down the House steps after the final votes of the week in
Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty

Senate candidate and U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) supports legislation that, if passed into law, would prohibit Arizonans from buying AR-15 rifles.

Gallego highlights his gun control support on his campaign website, although he does not go into the specifics of what his proposed policies would do if enacted.

For example, the campaign website mentions Gallego’s time as a U.S. Marine and his use of a gun with full-auto function. “Carrying and using his M16 to defend himself and his fellow Marines in Iraq made it clear to Ruben that weapons of war have no place in civilian life,” it reads. However, it does not explain how his Marine service use of an M16–a rifle with full auto options–correlates with law-abiding Americans owning rifles that only function in semiautomatic mode.

For clarification, an M16 is a battlefield weapon that has a select fire switch which allows troops to switch the action between semiautomatic and three-round, fully automatic bursts. (Older versions allowed troops to go from semiautomatic to unlimited fully automatic, which means they could pull the trigger one time, and hold it, and the gun would fire automatically until every round in the magazine had been fired.)

In contrast to this, an AR-15 fires one round–and only one round–each time the trigger is pulled. This is because AR-15s are semiautomatic rifles, designed for civilian use. They do not have select fire switches nor are they commonly designed to withstand the heat that a rifle is subjected to internally via full-auto fire.

WATCH — AWR Hawkins: Here’s the Difference Between an AR-15 and an “Assault Weapon”


But Gallego cites his use of an M16 as somehow comparable to an AR-15 and he wants to prohibit Arizonans from owning the semiautomatic rifles.

His campaign website notes Gallego’s support of an “assault  weapons” ban and other gun controls as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives:

[Gallego] has actively cosponsored pivotal legislation, backing initiatives such as the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, Assault Weapons Ban, and Ethan’s Law, and offering support to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. Passing The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was an important first step after years of inaction, but more work remains to be done to end the epidemic of gun violence in America, keep weapons of war off our streets, and ensure that Arizona communities are safe.

In 2016 Gallego went so far as to support barring individuals under 16 years of age from even firing AR-15s. He co-sponsored legislation with Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) that would prohibit those under 16-years-old from shooting an AR-15, even if they were at a range with an instructor.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio and a pro-staffer for Pulsar Night Vision. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in 2010 and holds a Ph.D. in Military History, with a focus on the Vietnam War (brown water navy), U.S. Navy since Inception, the Civil War, and Early Modern Europe. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. You can sign up to get Down Range at Reach him directly at


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