A couple days ago we put up a post asking for volunteers for a segment to air on NBC about “Gun Culture 2.0.” The idea was that we’d all meet up at the range, NBC’s Ronan Farrow would ask us some questions about young people and guns, then we’d all shoot some stuff. A number of our readers showed some understandable trepidation about volunteering for an NBC piece, especially given the mainstream media’s history of making gun owners look like crazed, bloodthirsty lunatics. But we were willing to take the chance, and I think things turned out better than we could have hoped . . .
The biggest unknown factor was who would show up. If your experience is anything like ours, you know that the vast majority of gun owners — young and old alike — are really cool, intelligent people. But just like any group, there are a few bad apples that can ruin it for the whole bunch. I asked Tyler Kee to come with me as backup, just to make sure that we stack the deck a little, but it wasn’t really needed. I don’t think we could have asked for a more intelligent, well-spoken group of shooters.
The interviews lasted a couple hours. As a group, we all talked about the Gun Culture 2.0 concept, that young people are a new breed of gun owners who don’t conform to the “old fat white guy” stereotype. The answers given were thoughtful, intelligent, and to my mind, painted gun owners in a very good light. Tyler and I discussed it afterwards, and we couldn’t see any way that the answers could be twisted and misinterpreted without some extremely heavy editing. And given the nature of the segment (new gun owners being different from the old FUDDs) I don’t see that as likely.
After the chat, we did some shooting. I did my best to keep everything safe, but some of the usual newbie mistakes were made. Kirsten Joy Weiss showed up for the segment as well, and there was a moment where she was showing off her riced-out 10/22 to Ronan and he absent mindedly swung the muzzle and pointed it directly at my midsection. I politely leaned over and said, “Sorry to interrupt, but could you please not point that gun at me again?” I think Kirsten got the hint, and kept everything downrange from then on. Safety is more important than showing off for the cameras.
Once we had a little play time, Ronan asked me to teach him how to shoot some of the guns. Apparently he shot skeet and trap back in college, but handguns and rifles are a little different. I started him out on my Ruger 10/22 Takedown with an AAC Prodigy silencer, and he was nailing a little pepper popper we had set up with no problems.
We then moved up to a Ruger 22/45 Lite with the same rimfire silencer, and while he was having some problems getting on target, he had the stance and fundamentals down just fine with a little instruction. I’m sure with more than a single magazine’s worth of practice he’d be A-OK.
Then we moved on to the bigger stuff. Ronan wanted to try something with a scope, so I handed him my .300 AAC Blackout rifle, with attached Liberty Suppressors Mystic-X can. He absolutely loved it, from the recoil of the larger rounds to the reticle in the scope. What can I say…I build nice things.
The best part was that throughout the whole “let’s teach the city boy to shoot” portion of the day, we didn’t wear any hearing protection. All the guns were suppressed, and all the ammo was subsonic. Everyone was able to chat normally and in a relaxed tone. I think they finally understood the benefit of a silencer.
At Robert’s request, I took a moment today to look over what we did on Saturday in the context of New York’s gun laws. Ronan lives in New York City and the question was how many laws would he have broken had this event taken place in New York. As best as I can tell, the following is a laundry list of the felonies that would have been incurred:
- Possession of an unregistered “assault weapon” (4 counts)
- Possession of a firearm without an NYC permit (5 counts)
- Possession of an illegal “sawed-off” rifle (2 counts)
- Possession of an illegal silencer (3 counts)
- Possession of a “high capacity” magazine thanks to the SAFE Act (4 counts)
- Unlicensed possession of a handgun by an adult (1 count)
Except they weren’t. Against the law, that is. Everyone had an absolute blast, and it was all 100% legal. No crimes were committed, all gun owners present were excellent ambassadors for our sport, and the NBC team were very happy with the results. It was a perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Then I went and saw the new Mad Max: Fury Road movie advanced screening. 10/10, would nearly pee myself again.