Muscatine gun shop owner talks misconceptions about the AR-15, legislation

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MUSCATINE, Iowa -  As the focus on gun laws, and calls for bans on automatic and semi-automatic weapons continue to lead conversations and debates, common misconceptions about guns and legislation need attention, too.

When it comes to guns and rifles, Scott Lucas is an expert.

"It has always been a hobby of mine." said Lucas, who owns Big River Guns in Muscatine.

At his store, you can buy a weapon that has been making headlines in light of recent events, the AR-15.

On March 1st, Lucas talked about guns and laws with News 8. He spoke specifically about the often misconceptions people have about the AR-15.

He said the biggest misconception is that the AR-15 is an assault rifle. He says the style of the gun often leads people to believe that the Armalite Rifle is an assault rifle, because they both look very similar.  But the difference between the two is that the AR-15 is semi-automatic and an assault rifle is an automatic weapon.

Lucas said the sale of true assault rifles is actually already banned in stores and generally used in the military. To purchase an AR-15 you must be 18-years old to purchase the gun and must have a permit or go through a background check in the state of Iowa.

"An assault rifle is a military term for a fully automatic rifle," said Lucas.

While some lawmakers are calling for a ban on the AR-15 alone, there are similar rifles out there that look more traditional, but can do just as much damage.

"The semi-automatic Remington. It's a model 750 and this is comparable to the AR-15." Lucas said while showing off the weapon in his shop.

The rifles may look different, but they're both semi-automatic rifles used for hunting.

A semi-automatic rifle means that the gun will only fire each time you pull the trigger.

With all of this being said, Lucas does not personally support many of the gun laws that lawmakers are working to pass right now.

However, he does support the call for deeper background checks on gun buyers and for more investigation into mental health.

"I think that it's good that they're focusing on going after people that shouldn't have guns," he said.

He hopes to an end for mass shootings but says banning those types of weapons isn't the answer.

"It's a terrible thing," Lucas said about events like the shooting in Parkland, Florida last month.

Still he hopes for a law that everyone can agree on.

"Legislation they're talking about right now will take the guns out of hands of people ... of law abiding citizens.