I am a Shooting Enthusiast

I am a shooting enthusiast. That does not mean that I am a “gun nut” or a “2nd Amendmenter” or any other derogatory term you wish to apply to me. I am a shooting enthusiast and it means that I like to shoot. I own guns, I shoot guns on a semi-regular basis and I enjoy participating in gun related activities. I also happen to be an amateur gunsmith – which is just added value to me to being a shooting enthusiast.

I know the difference between an M4A1 Assault rifle (the selective fire carbine currently in use by the US military forces), an H&K MP5 selective fire Personal Defense Weapon and a Bushmaster Varminter Sporting rifle. Calling the Bushmaster rifle “an assault rifle” will not only generate a laugh from me, it will tell me you have no idea what you are talking about. If you want to have a discussion with me about guns, please for the love of whatever deity you hold holy, learn something about what you are talking about.

As a gun enthusiast, I enjoy talking about guns. This does not mean I “worship” guns or that I sleep with one clutched tightly to my breast at night. It does not mean that my guns are “penile extensions” or “macho enhancers”. It simply means I like to talk about guns. I have studied the engineering behind them, I have studied their history and I have even studied their function. I know why most military rifles have pistol grips and I know why there is a difference between a piston driven AR and a direct gas impingement AR. Some people study cars, some study horses, I have studied guns. It has made me a better shooter and it aids in my gunsmithing. This does not make me crazy, paranoid or mentally deranged. Quit treating me as if it did.

I am not a member of the NRA. I am not interested in being a member of the NRA. I personally feel that the NRA has lost sight of it’s originally purpose and now serves as nothing more than a mouthpiece for the gun manufacturing industry. I do not support lobbyists and I certainly do not support an organization that no longer has my best interests at heart. I do not need the NRA to tell me who to vote for and I think the way the NRA has inserted itself in American politics is destructive. Stop trying to get me to join the NRA. Until the NRA gets back to it’s gun safety roots, we have parted ways.

Don’t try to bullshit me with false talking points. I am very aware of the reality of gun deaths in the US and probably understand them better than you do. First and foremost, gun deaths does NOT equal gun violence. Any attempt on your part to equate the two will result in the afore mentioned laughter. Gun violence is NOT just an American phenomenon (though I will grant that the US has more than any other country) and psychos with guns can be found likewise all over the world. Don’t try to tell me that gun violence is worse now than it was 10 years ago, because that is blatantly wrong. Gun violence has gone down fairly consistently for decades – in part because of better law enforcement tools.

Likewise, do not try to tell me that there is nothing we can do to make gun violence go down. That is utter bullshit. Nor do we have to infringe on the right (yes, I used the word Right) of gun ownership to reduce gun crime. A basic background check is not an infringement of your rights and it can, in fact, create a speedbump to the illegal purchase of a firearm by someone that shouldn’t have one. Yes, I do believe that some people shouldn’t have access to firearms – especially those people that have proven they are a danger to society. I was at the forefront of the NRA push for universal background checks two decades ago and I find the NRA’s stance today laughable. I think that people who use firearms to commit crimes should go away for longer periods of time and there would even be jail space for them if we would simply stop jailing people for smoking a weed – but that is an argument for another time. Nothing will eliminate gun violence completely, but there are things we can do to reduce that violence.

Likewise, stop trying to tell me that “assault rifles” should be banned because they contribute to gun violence. Less than 3% of all gun crime in the last ten years were done with a military style rifle (in fact, due to the fact that the Dept of Justice has a hard time tracking what is an “assault rifle” and what is a sporting rifle, the actual percentage is probably lower than that – per the director of the Dept of Justice). Whether a firearm is capable of carrying 5 rounds or 50 seems to make no difference at all in whether that weapon will be used in a crime. Making laws based on what a firearm “looks like” is asinine, in my opinion. Don’t bother to try to change my mind on that, either. I am pretty comfortable making that statement given the lack of effect the Brady Act had on gun crime. Accept some simple facts at this point – the first being that it is almost impossible to separate military style rifles from sporting rifles today. They are the same. Every major firearms manufacturer makes a military style rifle for sporting and the AR style sporting rifle is the most popular rifle on the market. It is so popular, in fact, that they now make that rifle in almost every popular sporting round – .243, .270, .308, 30-06, hell, they are even coming out with .300 win mag AR. I personally have no use for a .223 rifle, but they seem damn popular with other shooting enthusiasts.

Quit trying to convince me that President Obama will, single handedly, come to take my guns away (supposedly prying them from my cold dead fingers). That simply isn’t going to happen. No one is coming to take your guns away (unless you shouldn’t have them in the first place and that is a whole ‘nuther story…). In fact, President Obama was, single handedly, the best thing that every happened to the gun world. People were so afraid that he would use his “Negro ray of death” (hat tip to Jim Wright) to steal away our guns that they went out and bought more guns in six months than were sold in the previous three years. After the push to enact some kind of laws to prevent massacres like Sandy Hook, the gun market once again surpassed even the buying craze of 2008 and 2012. I would venture to say that President Obama sold more guns than any President of the last four decades. Gun manufacturers should get down on their knees and thank President Obama for his help in making their bank accounts flush.

Any time you want to have a rational, calm and reasonable discussion about guns, I am your guy. If want to rant about how I am a nutcase for owning them or a nutcase for not being a member of the NRA, save your breath. I am not interested in hearing what you want to say and I am not interested in wasting my breath to talk to you.

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