Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"Increase my killing power, eh?"

Today I had the most fun I've ever had shooting guns. My little brother and I went to Impact Guns in Ogden and took advantage of their in-store shooting range and inventory of guns for rent - including machine guns. We rented the MP5 - a submachine gun (fully auto, just with smaller ammo). The clerk kindly explained how to use it. He explained that it fires up and to the left (to hit your target, aim down and to the right of it). He also showed us the three settings - "safe, single fire, rock and roll".

It was incredible. There are few things in life quite as much fun as holding a sleek, comfortable gun in your hands, butting it up against your shoulder, gently squeezing the trigger and then having bullet after bullet fly out of the barrel in rapid sequence. On auto, one quick squeeze of the trigger releases around 3 shots. Holding it down releases oh so many more. It is so choice.

The cost isn't bad. You can call them to get their current rates, but for about $50, you can fire about 100 rounds, but I recommend getting more. I really enjoyed the staff, the facility was nice, and if you pay to rent one machine gun, you can trade it for any other machine gun or pistol for free. (You can always trade a pistol for another without additional cost.) In addition to the MP5, we shot a Sig Sauer, a Beretta, and a Glock. The Glock has a laser sight which was incredibly fun.

That being said, I have a number of other observations about my experience.

The Store
The first thing I noticed about the store even as I pulled into the parking lot was that every store employee was armed. Not only were they armed, but their weapons were all ready to fire (i.e. there was a round in the chamber and the hammer was cocked). This struck me as both a sensible precaution (I mean, they do let people rent machine guns inside the store) and crazy. It might just be all the liberal brainwashing I've been through, but it doesn't seem to me that there are any places outside a war zone where such a precaution is necessary. Even if they wanted to remain armed, keeping their weapons in ready-fire mode seems excessive.

Gun Control
Now that I have fired an automatic weapon, I am even more certain of my belief that they should be absolutely illegal. No private citizen should ever own an automatic weapon. Ever. They are deadly, dangerous, and powerful. The amount of damage that such a weapon can do in the hands of a skilled user is staggering. My little brother and I - amateurs at best - were more accurate with the machine gun than with any of the pistols. I cannot imagine how the VTech or any of the recent mall shootings would have been had the shooter been wielding the gun I held today. Even on single shot, the ability to quickly squeeze off rounds makes this class of weapon frighteningly deadly.

I also believe that handguns should be much harder to get and much less prolific. I fired three different handguns today (all of the same caliber - 9mm) and was in awe of the power of each one in my hands. We were shooting at a paper target and just left little holes. That makes it hard to imagine what it would do to flesh and bone, but the kick, the heat and the weight of each one made them intimidating weapons. I don't trust most people to be able to use that power responsibly.

Today's experience also cemented something that I've believed for a long time about gun control legislation. I believe that before people take a stand on the Second Amendment, they should either fire a gun or be in the immediate presence of a gun while it is being fired. Some of the guns the other patrons were shooting today were frighteningly powerful. Not only were they loud, but we could feel the compression of the shot (the air moved by the bullet) from several feet away. People should heft the weapon in their hands, hear the blast from the cartridge, and
feel its kick as the shot is fired before they decide whether it should or should not be in the hands of citizens.

Not only should people fire a gun, but members of Congress should have to fire the guns that they are trying to legalize or outlaw. I imagine that many of them would have a different opinion if they saw the weapons in action.

The store sold silencers for a wide variety of pistols. Although they were expensive (ranging between $300 and $2000), they were nevertheless available for public purchase because the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 is no longer in effect. I have said it before and I'll say it again: there is absolutely no legitimate reason for a private citizen (or even many law enforcement officers) to own a silencer. None whatsoever.

Rainbow Six Vegas
Readers of my blog should know that I love this game. Love, love, love it. It was this game that inspired me to plan this little outing since the MP5 is one of the weapons available in the game. So also are the Beretta and Glock pistols that we fired. I really enjoyed seeing these weapons in action. I also know why the MP5 is not more prolific [in the game]. While it does have a high rate of fire, it is a wussy, wussy gun. It fires a 9mm round that has the same stopping power as a marshmallow. Maybe next time we'll fire the G36.


Rob said...

Just because there's no "legitimate" reason to own something, doesn't mean we should take it away. There's really no legitimate reason for the normal everyday Joe to have a Ferrari, but they can still have one and way more people die from excessive speeds on our highways than gun violence. We had the assault weapon ban in effect for close to 10 years, show me the statistics that prove this was a good thing. Those psychos in LA with the fully automatic ak-47's happened during the ban. Not to mention Columbine. So as far as I can see, outlawing something, just takes it away from me, the law abiding citizen. Do I need an mp5? No, do I want one and should I be able to have one, considering I have absolutely no (even including speeding tickes) criminal record? Yes! The fact that gun crime continues to increase in Australia, Canada, and Britain in spite of their gun control laws, and continues to decrease in every state that makes concealed carry legal, should be some indication. If that off duty cop hadn't been carrying his conceald weapon in trolly square, many more people may have died. Arm the law abiding citizens, and crime rates drop, this is statistically proven.

Kirsten said...

Ferraris, at least, are not created to kill people/animals/whatever. Sure, there's no reason I need a nuclear weapon, does that mean I should get one if I have the means? People don't have stuff they don't intend to use. I'm not going to buy a four-wheeler just to look at and clean once in a while. I hate to think why someone would need an automatic weapon. I've struggled with gun control, as I highly enjoy the thought of shooting guns. But, stricter control (which doesn't mean taking guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens) means fewer guns floating around the streets, and falling into the hands of people who make plans to use them.

There have been plenty of instances where guns in the right hands have saved lives. And there are plenty of instances when guns in the hands of someone we thought was competent, turned into disaster.

Hopefully you're up for another round of guns shooting, because I think I need to go.

Murdoc said...

How could you tell that there was a round in the chamber of every store e employee?

Daniel said...

I deduced that there was a round in the chamber based on a number of clues:

- The hammer was back (is cocked the right term?) on every gun. That typically does not happen unless there is a round in the chamber.

- The effectiveness of carrying around guns for protection is severely decreased by having to cock the gun prior to firing.

- These struck me as the type of people that would walk around with loaded, ready-to-fire guns.

Besides, why would anyone put the hammer in the 'fire' position if the gun wasn't actually ready to fire?

Mormegil said...

Kirsten, what 'gun control' would you propse that would take the guns from the hands of criminals and not law abiding citizens? The single greatest problem with gun control, in any form, is that it simply removes guns from the hands of those willing to obey the law.

I agree with rob too in that where gun control is in place, what has it done to decrease crime rates?

Dan, I love the third reasoning in your logic, by the way.

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