I am taking exception with Mr. Shellabarger's assertion that the horrendously damaging wounds caused by AR rifles are due to the nature of bullets used and not by the guns they were fired from. Ballistics tells us that "muzzle velocity" is an important determinant that translates into high energy impacts, and thus is a critical, if not the most important, factor in having a devastating impact on human bodies, as well as other targets in general. A recent article in the New York Times illustrates this point by showing x-rays of ravaged limbs caused by high speed bullets such as fired by military style rifles compared to lesions caused by weapons that have lower muzzle velocity such as handguns (see:
Gina Kolata/GJ Chivers "Wounds from military rifles: a ghastly thing to see", NY Times, March 4, 2018). I could agree that both the expressions "gun violence" and "drug violence" do not make much sense, although these days it is rather opioids than sleeping pills that cause deaths.
However, death from drug overdose has rightly been called a devastating epidemic and disastrous public health problem. So are wrong guns in the wrong hands.