I'm a gun owner.
I've spent my entire life around guns, both in and out of the military.
My dad taught me to shoot at a young age. I've had extensive professional training since. I'm a graduate of numerous weapons' schools. I attended the Smith & Wesson Range Master Academy. I've been to Tactical Survivor School. I've been through the USMC Tactical Officer's Weapon School, and US Navy Boarding Officer's School, and special operations ground combat training. I've been through security forces training and marine (marine, not Marine) SWAT team training. I'm rated expert with both long guns and hand guns, both with right hand and left. I've shot competition. I've carried guns in every conceivable situation. I've handled everything from small pistols to the M-16A1 and A2 to the MP4 to 60Cal squad machine guns to large 25mm autocannon and grenade launchers all the way up to US Navy 5"54 main guns. And I am rarely very far from a weapon, even today. I'm extremely comfortable around guns, I'm a certified gunsmith, and I can field strip a government model M1911A1 .45ACP and put it back together blindfolded in under a minute. I live in Alaska, and rarely venture into the bush without my reliable Colt Anaconda .44magnum, or my Colt M1911 .45ACP at the very least.
So, you might think I'm a gun nut.
As I mentioned elsewhere today, I'm a strong advocate of gun control. While I understand and support the 2nd Amendment, I don't think just any jackass should be able to own a gun. Hell, some people shouldn't be left alone in the kitchen with a Cuisinart, let alone be allowed to handle a pistol. I think a fifteen day waiting period for any gun purchase is a damned fine idea (Seriously, a guy runs into a gun shop all wild-eyed and wants a gun RIGHT NOW, that's probably not somebody we need to be armed, just saying). I think background checks should be mandatory for all gun purchases, every time. I think mandatory training for first time purchases should be required - we make people take drivers education, but any idiot can own and operate a gun, yeah, that makes sense. I think that there is no conceivable need for any civilian to have a military grade weapon in his house. AK-47's and AR-15's (the civilian version of the M-16) are not sporting weapons, they are designed to kill people, period - and the people who buy these weapons are exactly the kind of people who shouldn't own weapons in the first damned place. I'm not a fan of national gun registration for the average gun owner, but I do think that "Gun Collectors" should be registered and licensed and regulated, period, with major fines, jail time, and confiscation of all weapons for any violation. And I think all gun owners should be held strictly accountable, with severe penalties for allowing a weapon to fall into the hands of a child or for any other negligent act. You buy a safe, you lock your guns up, you take responsibility. Period.
And gun shows? Well, gun shows just plain piss me off.
Ever been to one? It starts in the parking lot. With the giant trucks and the Confederate flags and the stupid pseudo patriotic bumper-stickers and it gets worse, a lot worse, inside the convention hall. Gun shows are where every drooling idiot with a gun fetish goes to rub uglies with other rednecked retards. Gun shows are tables and tables of deadly paraphernalia for sale by idiots who think they know something about guns to idiots who learned about guns from reading Soldier of Fortune magazine and watching the military channel. Gun shows are full of grade-B ignorant morons in camo pants who jerk off to the Guns & Ammo centerfold with a fist full of Break Free CLP pistol lube. It's a place where deals get made under the table and guns change hands for cash without any form of accountability. The average IQ at a gun show is roughly that of a troop of termite eating baboons. If I had my way, I ban gun shows altogether, and I'll tell you flat out that the people who go to gun shows are the kind of people who shouldn't own guns in the first place.
Let me give you an example:
With an instructor watching, an 8-year-old boy at a gun fair aimed an Uzi at a pumpkin and pulled the trigger as his dad reached for a camera. It was his first time shooting a fully automatic machine gun, and the recoil of the weapon was too much for him. He lost control and fatally [shot] himself in the head.
That's right, last weekend at a gun show in Westfield, Massachusetts, 8-year Chris Bizilj (Bay-seal) was given a fully automatic .45cal Uzi submachinegun. He aimed at a pumpkin, and pulled the trigger on full-auto. Instead of helping to control the weapon, the 'instructor' was standing back watching. Instead of helping to control the weapon, the father was taking pictures. And apparently, it did not occur to anybody present that giving a fucking machine gun to an 8-year old was a bad, bad, bad, bad, bad idea.
If you've never fired an automatic weapon, well, it's nothing at all like in the Rambo movies. Even a big guy with a patented GI-Joe kung-fu grip and forearms like Popeye the Sailorman has a hard time controlling a weapon on full auto. All guns kick, it's basic physics: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. That's why when you pull the trigger the muzzle tends to move up in recoil (that's assuming you're holding the weapon correctly and you have sufficient strength to manage the recoil. If you don't, well, then then muzzle tends to move in unexpected directions, including straight back into your face. Seen it happen, many times). Even a light weapon will kick, and that recoil is magnified many, many times with an automatic weapon - and especially one with a high cyclic rate of fire and light weight - like the Uzi. Even a relatively heavy automatic rifle like the Navy M-14A2 in full auto will knock the shit out of you. I once saw a petite Sailor, a young female Petty Officer firing an M-14A2 in full auto from the prone position, get pounded backwards by the repeating recoil. Once the weapon began to fire and she began to lose control, she automatically clenched her hands on the rifle in a attempt to just hold on, thus jamming the trigger back and emptying the entire 15 round magazine in one burst. The recoil knocked her backwards off the firing platform and the line of fire described a perfect arc over her head as each round raised the muzzle another six inches. She blew the roof off the firing platform and damned near killed fifteen people, including me. And she had training.
A light machine is worse. The weapon doesn't weigh enough and the barrel isn't long enough to help offset the recoil. The cycle rate is very high, several hundred rounds per minute as opposed to the much lower firing rate of a large caliber machine gun. They tend to get hot very, very quickly and if you're not holding them correctly you get seriously burned, which means you lose control or drop the weapon. They are extremely difficult to aim, extremely. An Uzi for example is commonly called a scatter gun or a fire hose, because the bullets tend to fly all over the damned place in full auto. Despite what you see in the movies, most modern light automatic military weapons are burst weapons as opposed to being fully automatic, i.e. when you pull the trigger and hold it down they fire a burst (usually 3 rounds), then you have to release the trigger and pull it again. Why? Because even a big beefy leatherneck who lives and dies with his weapon (All Marines are riflemen first) usually can't maintain aim past about three rounds in automatic - plus it saves ammo, big time. A couple of other things: automatic weapons are loud, startlingly so for the uninitiated, and they eject a stream of hot flying brass, which often ends up under your feet like marbles (or dropping down neck of the guy standing beside you like red hot ingots, which is why I always wear a boonie hat on the firing line).
And this is exactly my point.
Gun shows are full of rampant hard-ons who only think they know something about guns. Note the 'instructor' in the article, who obviously, obviously, didn't know shit about firearms instruction to children - let alone anything about teaching automatic weapons fire. Second, note the utter fucking moron of a father who thought it was cool to give his 8-year old son an automatic weapon, and not just any automatic weapon, but an Uzi submachinegun. Note how both the father and the idiot instructor were obviously ignorant of the points I outline above regarding automatic weapons. Third, the Uzi. Somebody please explain to me why there were automatic weapons at this gun show. Somebody please explain to me why there were automatic weapons being fired at this gun show. Somebody please explain to me why any idiot with a bloodstream full of viagra and no damned sense whatsoever was allowed to fire an automatic weapon at this gun show. Somebody please explain to me why an 'instructor' didn't have the basic common sense of any Range Master when presented with an 8-year old child, who had neither the physical development nor the maturity to handle a regular hunting rifle let alone an Uzi.
Predictably, or at least predictably to anyone with an once of common sense and a modicum of training, when Chris Bizilj pulled the trigger, the weapon's muzzle rose with each succeeding round, he immediately lost control and because the Uzi is a very short barreled weapon and the muzzle was below his head when fully vertical, the kid shot himself in the forehead.
I feel deep sadness for any father who looses a child under such tragic circumstance. But I feel nothing but rage for the shear and utter stupidity that precipitated these tragic circumstances in the first place. The operators of the gun fair, the instructor, the venue owners, and especially the father should be held strictly accountable for manslaughter. The show operators for failing to adhere to basic firearms safety guidelines. The venue owners for failing to determine those guidelines in advance and for not ensuring that they were enforced. The instructor for criminal negligence and criminal stupidity.
And the father, for child endangerment.
See, this wasn't the first time Chris had fired a weapon beyond his capability. He had fired pistols too and it would seem that his father is enamored with American gun culture. I can see a child learning to fire a small caliber (.22 rifle, 410 shotgun) around eight years of age depending on his maturity and development. My son is twelve, and has not yet fired a weapon and will not for another year or until I'm satisfied that he is mature enough to understand my rules and stick to them. But no child should be firing a handgun of any kind until well into their teens, they simply do not have either the maturity or the physical development to operate handguns safely. You can argue with me all you want, but I'm a professionally trained range master and firearms instructor and I taught small arms for twenty years to military people and I have extensive experience in this, so if you're going to argue think carefully before you comment.
It's long past time to get rid of the hodge-podge mishmash of city, local, and state gun regulations, and long past time to impose a unified set of federal gun regulations. We can easily protect our 2nd Amendment rights and still have common sense regulation that reduces the likelihood of the kind of tragedy that occurred in Massachusetts last weekend.
Call it the Chris Bizilj Act.