The True Story of the AR-15 Rifle, NPR’s Steve Inskeep on Abraham Lincoln

The 20 million AR-15s in the U.S. today are a symbol of constitutional freedom, evil and terror. A new book, 'American Gun', traces the weapon's history and transformation.

Listen 50:01
The image shows the covers of the two books American Gun: The True Story of the AR-15 by Cameron McWhirter and Zusha Elinson, plus Differ We Must by Steve Inskeep

A conversation about two books and American history.

There are more than 20 million AR-15-style weapons in the United States today — and they’re at the center of our country’s gun safety debate. These rifles, capable of evil and destruction, are owned legally by many average citizens and hunters but have also become a symbol of 21st-century mass shootings — a far cry from the original intention of aiding U.S. soldiers during the Cold War. We’ll talk with Wall Street Journal reporters Cameron McWhirter (@cammcwhirter)  and Zusha Elinson (@ZushaElinson) about the true story of the AR-15, its transformation over the decades and the political power it holds. Their new book is American Gun.

NPR Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep joins us to discuss his new book, Differ We Must, about President Abraham Lincoln and how he united a divided country. We’ll discuss the political lessons the 16th president learned and why they are more relevant than ever.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal