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This is a very touchy subject, especially in a part of the country where gun ownership is a long standing tradition. Here is what I think.
I have owned guns ever since I was a kid. Although I no longer have a passion for hunting, as I did when I was younger, I definitely understand those that do. When I was a kid in high school, I had a couple of shotguns, an Iver Johnson Model X that was my dad's when he was a kid, a Remington Nylon 66, and an old Colt .22 revolver.
I currently have a couple of .22 rifles and three handguns. I enjoy shooting at targets with them, and I do carry one with me at all times. I understand that the 2nd Amendment gives me the right to protect myself and those around me. The police can't always be there when you need them immediately.
Dr. Harry Hathaway, my dentist when I was a kid, would prefer to hand a young man an Outdoor Life or a Field & Stream magazine than use novocaine. I remember at that time that the NRA had ads that promoted gun safety and ethical hunting practices.
What I don't understand about the NRA of today is how they have become an organization that promotes fear and distrust of our neighbors and our government. As a veteran, I swore to defend the Constitution of the United States of America. That includes ALL of the Amendments to it, not just the 2nd one.
Those who feel the need to be armed with weapons like the AR-15, or even more deadly ones, because they may need it to defend themselves from a tyrannical government concern me. The government they would use such weapons against is the government that I served for eleven years, and the one that I continue to support despite certain misgivings about its current management.
I get it that the AR-15 is not an assault rifle. I get it that it can be used for target shooting. I have shot one, with a 30 round clip ... it was fun! But you sure don't need one to hunt. If you need a 30 round clip to go hunting and can't down a deer with one or two shots, you should get back to the target range and hone your skills. We have laws that demand that you put a plug in your shotgun to limit its firepower, why not for long rifles as well?
I see a lot of young, healthy men that display their faux military equipment online. They dress as though they were ready for combat, not for tracking game. They call it "tactical gear." Listen, if you want to act like that, or you believe in the 2nd Amendment as though it were part of the Gospels, you can go join a militia, we call that the National Guard. If you don't know where the recruiter is, I can help you find one.