The attack in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik, apparently involving a Ruger Mini-14 assault rifle, is only the most horrific of the mass shootings involving the company's products.
Founded in 1949, the "corporate motto" of Sturm, Ruger & Co. is "Arms Makers for Responsible Citizens." But Sturm, Ruger firearms are also often found in the hands of mass shooters: last year's attack at a Connecticut beer distributor, leaving eight victims dead and two wounded; the 1999 shooting at Wedgewood Baptist Church in Texas, leaving seven victims dead and seven wounded; Oregon's Thurston High School in 1998, leaving four dead and 22 wounded; the 1993 Long Island Railroad shooting, leaving six dead and 19 wounded; the 1991 Luby's massacre, leaving 23 victims dead and 20 wounded; and, a 1987 shootout at a Florida shopping center, leaving six dead, including two police officers.
In his book Assault Pistols, Rifles and Submachine Guns, noted gun expert Duncan
Long details the Mini-14's military heritage from the U.S. military's M14 battle rifle:
"The Mini-14 is not just a scaled-down M14; it's also an improved version....Ruger's Mini-14, which was aimed at (and for a time, sold only to) the law-enforcement and military markets, was introduced in 1972. Because demand was great in the civilian market, the 'sporterized' semiauto version with a 5-round magazine was introduced in 1976. Though no large military sales ever were secured, the rifle was very competitively priced. The public and police markets have made it a commercial success...."
Long notes, "The Mini-14's inexpensive price has made it the 'poor man's' assault rifle in many ways." Its price, he states, is "often only half that commanded by many military-style rifles on the market." Long concludes, "The Mini-14 is a handy, affordable rifle that is capable of being modified for combat or used as a sporter."
In his manifesto, 2083--A European Declaration of Independence, Breivik discusses his choice of the Ruger Mini-14, stating, "Have no doubt, every single political contribution counts whether it is through the barrel of a Ruger Mini-14 or through an essay! The former will amplify the latter and vice versa." A review of the document reveals the following.
Breivik's choice of language regarding why he chose the Ruger Mini-14 closely tracks an article in the August 2010 edition of Gun World magazine that described "Ruger's Mini-14 Tactical Rifle" as "'Combat Customized' From the Factory" in its headline. The enthusiastic article noted:
"Ruger's Mini-14 Tactical Rifle is a version of the well-established Mini-14 incorporating many of the assault rifle features that end users have being [sic] applying themselves for decades, this time straight from the factory."
"Being seen over the years as a sort of 'poor man's assault rifle' the Mini-14 has spawned a huge array of after-market parts that may be applied to make it more 'assault rifle-y.' Recently Sturm, Ruger & Co. finally decided to get into the act themselves by producing their Mini-14 Tactical Rifles." [See photo below taken from Ruger's website]
And while Breivik was jealous of the ease with which his "European American brothers" could possess military style weapons compared to Europe--noting, "I envy our European American brothers as the gun laws in Europe sucks ass in comparison"--he was able to access enough of America's uniquely militarized firearms market to fulfill his grotesque and lethal vision.
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