Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, whose district includes parts of Orlando and a whole lot of redneck country, just doubled down on stupid on national television.
Speaking to CNN on camera, Grayson claimed the Orlando shooter “should not be able to buy a weapon that shoots off 700 rounds in a minute.” Such a dumb remark should, if Florida voters require their senator to possess a brain, cost him any chance at his party’s nomination for Marco Rubio’s senate seat.
Let’s break down Grayson’s claim, for those who are bad at math. To fire 700 rounds in a minute, you’d have to pull the trigger every 12th of a second, for an entire minute, without changing magazines or stopping for any reason. Essentially, Grayson claimed the AR-15 is a machine gun.
That rate of fire simply can’t be achieved using an AR-15. It’s mechanically impossible, given that the semi-automatic AR-15 takes longer than .08 seconds for a shooter to pull the trigger, fire, eject, load, and reset the trigger mechanism.
But even, for the sake of argument, if the AR-15 were indeed a fully-automatic weapon (since it is possible, though illegal and not as easy as you think) to modify it for continuous fire, let’s compare it to real machine guns.
The M1918 Browning Automatic Weapon (“BAR”) was used in combat by the U.S. Army from the end of WWI through the end of Vietnam. It is a magazine-fed, man-portable .30-06 gas-operated machine gun. The AR-15 is also gas-operated. The BAR’s rate of fire is 500-650 rounds/min. With a 20 round box magazine, it would take 1.8 seconds to fire the entire magazine at maximum rate of fire. If a large capacity magazine were attached to the BAR, and the trigger were held down for a whole minute, it’s likely the barrel would begin to melt.
The U.S. Army’s current in-use man-portable machine gun is the M60E4/Mk 43. It uses a belt feed system and the same ammunition as an AR-15 (5.56mm NATO rounds), so technically it could fire continuously until the barrel melts. The M60’s maximum rate of fire is 500-650 rounds per minute, just like the BAR.
To summarize, no, Rep. Grayson, the Orlando shooter could not purchase a weapon that shoots off 700 rounds in a minute. And neither can you or anyone else–unless you’re a Navy SEAL or Secret Service agent carrying an H&K MP5, that is.