Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Yesterday (as of writing this post) I did something so out of character for myself that I even shocked myself. When my friends read this, I may even lose some of my more liberal ones. See, for some reason, I’ve been on something of a “gun kick” of late.
Yes, I know I’ve written about my guns before. For the most part, I’ve been buying handguns of a variety of styles and types of ammunition. I do have a conceal carry license, but I don’t use it (except to make it easier to buy handguns because having it cuts through so much red tape in my state). As ridiculous as it sounds (and it sounds ridiculous) the caliber runs from .22 through .50 magnum. I’ve purchased guns for home (my .45) and self (9 mm) defense, but I’ve also bought guns for fun like my very pink .38 revolver and my .380 James Bond Walther PPK. I don’t anticipate using any of them except to take them to my club to shoot at targets.
Yesterday, I was at the club looking at their “Black Friday” specials. I saw an AR which was regular price, but they threw in extras like free ammo. It was a mid-range rifle, and was surprised when, suddenly, I realized that I was seriously considering it. I’m a handgun guy, and while I’ve fired AR’s in my day, I never really considered buying my own, until that very moment.
But I don’t do anything half-way. When I realized I was seriously considering it, and leaning towards actually investing, I started asking questions about the deal. We talked about options, and the most recent AR I had fired was actually hers that she had for rent at the club. She had put together a custom AR with features that, frankly, made it very wild including a “binary” trigger that fires both when you pull and release it. Basically, it is the fastest firing semi-automatic allowed by law.
Her gun was wild to fire, but it was so much fun. Yes, I only fired it at a target, and that was still fun. Let’s be real, though; these guns are not for hunting. It’s too hard to control to actually be able to aim it (unless it’s on traditional trigger setting), but it would definitely take down prey. The problem is, in binary mode, you would spend so much time taking lead out of the game that it wouldn’t be worth eating. AR owners often argue it’s for hunting, but I don’t buy it. Although, to be fair, buck shot would have the same problem.
Many of my liberal friends, no doubt, would say, “see? They’re good for nothing but killing people” but, honestly, anybody who knows me realizes that I do not have murder in my heart. So clearly, there must be a third purpose for the rifle that I purchased (a high-end rifle, yes, with a binary trigger). That purpose, frankly, is pure joy. It’s just fun shooting that beast. Honestly, if I could get an old car in a field somewhere that I could legally shoot at, yes, I’d shoot at it (or even just targets in a field somewhere), but I anticipate it will murder nothing but paper targets in my range. No, I won’t carry it to try to intimidate people, and no, I won’t use it for hunting. It’s just fun and if my friends are willing to pay for their own ammo, yes, I would let them try it out. To me, this would be an educational experience for anybody who has never fired an AR previously, and as is my usual style, I don’t want to change anybody’s mind. I just want people to have the information before deciding. No doubt, firing my AR would convince many of my anti-AR friends that their opinions are correct, and that’s okay. I’ll respect their opinions if they respect mine.
To be honest, I don’t have a problem with AR’s, but I do have problems with the current gun laws. It does bother me that it’s so easy in so many states (thankfully not mine) to buy guns. I’m concerned that there are not harsh penalties for reselling guns, or for parents of kids who take their guns. Honestly, it would not bother me if the FBI wanted to keep an eye on me for a while because of all of the guns I’ve been buying on this kick (which is hopefully over). They can check my social media pages and monitor (within the law) my emails and messages, and they’ll realize I have no nefarious plans. (DO YOU HEAR THAT, AGENT?) The focus should not be on the rifles, but on the accessibility.
And, if you doubt my intention, I should mention that I didn’t buy just one rifle yesterday, but two. For me, I enjoy shooting, and I like fun guns, so along with my AR, I purchased a bolt-action .22 as well. The rifle is actually designed for kids (in fact, it’s called “My First Rifle”), but I’d never fired a .22 before, so yes, I bought it to shoot it. Which one will get better protection for safety purposes? Neither. Both are actual rifles, firing real rounds (although different caliber), and both are deadly, so both are in the new gun safe that I also bought. Even a .22 is dangerous in the wrong hands, although I do think it’s cool that I now have both a handgun and rifle appropriate for children should I have a friend that wants their child to learn about guns and gun safety. So, the ball is in your court now. Feel free to pass judgment.