Why the AR-15 is more than just a gun

Diaz says the industry is filling a demand it was forced to create. Data from the General Social Survey, a public opinion survey conducted every two years, show the percentage of American households that own guns is declining. Diaz says kids these days would rather pick up a video game than a hunting rifle.

“It’s just a fact that hunting has been in serious decline, so those kinds of guns just don’t sell as well,” he says. “Well, you’re in business, you got to sell something. These assault rifles — these military-style rifles — appeal to a broader range of people.”

So he says the industry pounced on these products to stay relevant. With fewer households to sell to, Diaz says gun makers have to keep coming up with newer, sleeker, more high-tech weapons for people who already own guns.

Now, more than 30 gun companies make AR-15s. Almost 8.5 million assault rifles have been either manufactured in the U.S. or imported here since the 1990s, according to the NSSF.

Gun dealers like Clark Brothers Gun Shop say someone comes in to buy one of these rifles almost every single day they’re open.