Two weeks ago I was in Las Vegas for the Mountain West Conference basketball tournament and because of the limited airline options in the Central Coast region of California, I arrived in Sin City several days before the tournament started.
There are a variety of businesses in Las Vegas that offer visitors the opportunity to fire a variety of guns, including fully automatic weapons. Since this is something I'm unlikely to ever get to do in California, I decided to take the plunge and spent a little over an hour firing a variety of guns. I fired a fully automatic Thompson machine gun (unfortunately without a drum magazine), an AK-47 and several other guns.
One weapon I decided to try out was the AR-15, since it's been in the news a lot lately. It's a nice gun. The one I used came with a laser sight on it which gave it a little bit of a video game feel. Most of the reporting you've heard in the mainstream media on this gun—that it's a high-powered assault rifle designed to kill people—is a load of crap. The AR-15 isn't high-powered. The cartridge is tiny and the thing barely has any kick at all. (The Desert Eagle 44 Magnum handgun that I fired does kick like a mule.)
What ticks me off most about the silliness of "assault weapons" bans and the absolute moral authority of Dianne Feinstein because she saw the bodies of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk (both shot by a madman with a revolver—not a rifle) is that it is somehow a substitute for serious discussion of policy.
What also ticks me off is the opportunism and hypocrisy of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly.
Mark Kelly was recently caught purchasing an AR-15 in Arizona. A former space shuttle pilot, Kelly was allegedly making the purchase to show how easy it is to get a gun if the government has in the past trusted you with a billion-dollar spacecraft or something.
That also led the to release of a photo of Giffords in less hypocritical times with an AR-15 that she had fired repeatedly. Note that Giffords' shooter was a nutcase with a Glock 19 handgun, not the scary-looking AR-15 that everyone wants to ban.
Take a close look at those two images above. A few things to note: