Monday, September 17, 2007

Gun Control: It's Not These People Who Make It Dangerous – They Make It Fun!

When I take up a hobby, it's usually something technical in nature. I did that with flying. And computers. And handyman stuff. But in the past few months I've taken up a hobby that is a lot of fun and takes skill, precision and the desire to shoot innocent target out on "the range." Yes folks, I'm talking about shooting. Guns. Those things that fire bullets with gunpowder. It's a hobby that in contrast to what most people think, is one of many rules, respect and technical knowledge. Don't I look cool in this video. It's a blast.

We went to the Angeles Shooting Range here in mountains of LA this past weekend. My brother-in-law and his wife are into it...big time. They've taken me up to the range a couple of times and each one has been a blast...literally. They've got a nice collection of guns and it's fun to try out different models and ammunition types to see how the gun performs, it's accuracy and my abiliities...which by the way aren't all that great.

When you get ot he range, you expect to see hicks and rednecks. Not here. There's some of those but there are a lot of precision shooters, both men and women. There are all sorts of guns being fired...shotguns, rifles, handguns and even old muskets. Those things pack a blast. The first thing you notice is a sign for eye and ear protection. This rule is strictly enforced anytime you're on the range.

You have to fill out a release form (yes, they don't want to be responsible if you shoot yourself in the foot reloading or something) and after paying the $14 fee, and pick up a couple of target holders, you go up to the range and find a table that's open. You put out your guns, ammo, tools, etc., and then load your gun. When the Rangers call a break, people go out and put their target holders in and replace their targets. Now it's time for the fun.

My brother and sister-in-law have given me the opportunity to fire many different types of guns. They've got handguns and rifles and muskets. Small caliber and larger caliber. My favorite gun is the Colt AR-15 assault rifle. Now they are illegal in California unless you owned one before the ban. This gun is lightweight, holds ten bullets and you really can't tell you're firing a weapon. It's accuracy, with a scope on it is incredible. I hit a standing shotgun shell from 50 yards...nice!

My brother-in-law (I'm going to call him BIL for the rest of this article) is into this hobby. He can shoot really damn good and nows the in's and out's of all of the guns he owns. He really likes the old Civil War type muskets which you have to load by hand. To me, it's a little too time consuming putting in the black powder, the wadding, and the bullet - and then packing it all down to get just one shot. I like a 10-shot clip makes it more fun. My BIL can fire almost any gun with great accuracy. There are these metal targets way out on the range and when he shoots, all you hear is ding, ding, ding, ding. That's just sucks 'cuz I ain't that good!

This weekend we had a few problems with the AR-15 ejecting shells so I got to fire handguns a bit more. Firing a .44 Magnum is one hell of a gun. Powerful and loud. The kickback isn't bad and all those Dirty Harry movies make it look easy. It isn't. I couldn't hit a target even at 25 yards. Using almost and handgun I suck big time. I guess maybe I've got to take a lesson or two!

It amazes me the respect these people have for firearms. They all talk with each other, help each other, lend parts to each other and even teach the me. When the rangers call a break, everybody stops for five minutes. Then everyone puts their weapons down, takes out any magazines or bullets and opens the chamber. Noting can happen until the ranger checks each and every gun on the line. Once they've done that, you can go out and change your targets and they encourage you to clean up your "brass" or shell casings. And you know what? Most people do it. Sometimes it's even hard to find a freakin' broom to do it. And people don't just clean up their area, they clean all the areas. It's pretty cool.

Now back to me. Using a rifle with regular sights, I'm not that good. But using the AR-15 with the scope, I can hit a target pretty good...even at 100 yards! Yeah, I know, there are a lot of bullet holes outside the target area but I hit it quite a bit. Hell, I even broke the PVC plastic frame with a shot or two. That cost us a couple of bucks. But I'm learning and it's a lot of fun. You combine technology with skill and mental patience. It takes practice to be good. In time I'm sure I'll get better. If not, I love blasting those targets!

I had a great time out on the range this past Saturday. If you've never tried shooting a gun, you should give it a try. It's more fun than you think. I've got a new respect for them and the damage they can do. Look at this .44 bullet I found. Imagine that hitting a body. Ouch. But you know what, all the people I meet who are into guns actually practice Gun Control. We do not need the government to intervene in this area except when it comes to criminals. Sure, tighten the laws and make the penalties stiffer for the idiots who use them to commit crimes. But don't punish these guys. They know what a gun is for and how to use it!

And now, so do I. Watch out you nasty no-good target, I'm comin' to get ya. Pow, Pow, Pow!