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    Posted January 10, 2013 by
    Ridgway, Colorado
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Gun control debate: Background checks

    Not an "Assault Weapon", just my Hunting Rifle


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     TheBatCave told me, 'I've been wanting to write something for a few weeks, and after hearing Obama's willingness to use executive orders to implement gun control I decided it was time.'
    - hhanks, CNN iReport producer

    This is not an assault weapon, it is a hunting rifle and a target rifle. In the last 3 years of owning this hunting rifle I have brought home two elk to feed my family of 5. I have also gone target shooting with family, friends and neighbors dozens of times. Never once has it been used to assault, injure or scare anyone.


    Unlike typical hunting rifles, I built this one by hand. I purchased each piece individually so I could build exactly what I wanted. The stock fits me perfectly in multiple situations, the grip was adjusted for my hand, the scope is mounted at the perfect level for my eyes, and the 2-stage trigger works great for hunting. No other hunting rifle out there offers the same level of personal customization, not to mention thousands of options of each component. Who wouldn't want a custom rifle built to their specific needs?


    Now on to the issue at hand - why are politicians trying to take away the rifle I built to feed my family with? Because it has some "features" that fit their arbitrary list:


    The 1994 Federal Ban defined an "Assault Weapon" as a semi-automatic rifle with detachable magazine and two of the following:

    • 1. Folding or telescoping stock
    • 2. Pistol Grip
    • 3. Flash suppressor (or threaded barrel designed to accommodate one)
    • 4. Bayonet mount
    • 5. Grenade launcher


    Clearly my hunting rifle does not have a bayonet mount or a grenade launcher, but it does have 3 of the other items, and only two are needed to consider it an assault weapon.


    Why did I choose a hunting rifle with these features? Let me explain each so even a politician with blinders on can understand:


    1. Telescoping stock - No two people are alike. Everyone's arms are different lengths and a one-size-fits-all stock simply does not work for everyone. A stock that can adjust in length allows myself, my father or my son (once he is old enough) to hunt or shoot targets with regardless of our differences. In addition, I hunt in areas that vary from large open fields to thick pine trees. When in large fields, I sit while resting my rifle on my hiking poles, or I lay down on the ground. Both of these positions benefit from extending out the stock so I have a more stable shooting position. However, when I am walking through thick forest, managing and shooting a longer rifle is not easy or as safe. In these situations any shot would be from the standing position in which a longer stock only moves the center of mass of the rifle further away from my body which in turn makes it much more difficult to hold steady. By shortening the stock in these situations, the rifle is easier to carry around and I keep the weight of the rifle closer to me which makes it much safer to shoot.


    2. Pistol Grip - When hiking through dead fall and climbing up and over large logs, being able to hold my rifle by the pistol grip in one hand allows me to use the other to safely navigate the obstacles. This not only keeps me from twisting an ankle, but I also have a firm grip on the rifle so it cannot fall or go off accidentally by snagging on a branch. Also, using the pistol grip while shooting provides a much more natural and stable platform to make sure I am on target.


    3. Flash Suppressor(or threaded barrel) - Obviously when hunting elk I have no need for a flash suppressor. However, I do need the threaded barrel - on my hunting rifle I have installed a compensator. For those who do not know what this does, it reduced the amount the rifle barrel kicks up when shooting. I choose to install a compensator on my hunting rifle so I could quickly and easily take a follow up shot if needed so the animals do not suffer. Also if my barrel accidentally hits the dirt while climbing over a log, no dirt gets into the barrel (which could be very dangerous) and I can clean it out easily by tapping on it or pushing a twig through one of the many holes.


    Just because my hunting rifle fits these criteria, politicians and the media are calling it an assault weapon. But who have I assaulted? Will they require my hunting rifle to be registered, taxed or even banned? And all this because of a couple mentally unstable individuals. How many rifles are in the US today that fall under these same criteria? (I've seen estimates of 1-10 million) These bans will punish literally millions of people because of the actions of 2 individuals. How is that fair? What did I ever do wrong to have my hunting rifle banned?



    Guns Aren't Evil


    It sickens me that so many people in our country try to make guns seem evil and vilify gun owners. I was brought up around firearms and instructed on their safety from as far back as I can remember. In my home, guns weren't a weapon of fear, but a tool for building friendships and providing food for our family. I still remember the first time shooting a pellet gun with my father (no BB guns in our house due to safety concerns), and my first time hunting with a 22 rifle.


    My wife and I are raising 3 children, all in elementary school. Even our youngest in preschool knows how dangerous firearms are and that they need to be treated in a special way. If her older brother pretends something is a gun and points it at her, she lets us know right away. None of them are old enough to go shooting with me, but they are looking forward to it.  Even at their very young ages, I bet my 3 children know more about firearms and firearms safety than 90% of the politicians and media outlets who are pushing to ban them.  If you have never owned, used  or been around firearms, what makes you think you can be "educated" about them?



    Concealed Carry in Schools


    Another item I'd like to discuss is the notion of firearms in schools. I've had my concealed weapon permit for a few years now. I carry it with me wherever I go - on a walk, shopping, hiking or just out for a drive. I truly hope that I NEVER have to use any of my firearms on another human being. Taking another human's life is something I'm not sure how I will cope with. But if I am ever in a situation where the lives of my family or others around me are at risk because of a crazed gunman, I hope I have the courage to save someone's live.


    Less than a week after the horrible tragedy in Connecticut, our children had a Christmas concert at school. Being a law-abiding citizen, I locked my concealed weapon in the glove box of my locked car, as required by law, and went in to watch my children sing. While there in the auditorium, I felt helpless and defenseless. There were over 100 children with hundreds of adults and family members crammed into one small room with only two exits. The front school doors weren't locked, and there was no security guard or police officer in sight - anyone could walk in off the street.  If someone wanted to cause massive damage with any weapon (assault weapon or not), there would have been no one to stop them - we were all defenseless.


    I have taken multiple training courses, both in the class room as well as on the range. Why can't I be allowed to enjoy my children's school concert knowing I have a way to defend myself, my family and my neighbors?



    "High Capacity" Magazines


    One last item that politicians seem to be oblivious to - "high-capacity" magazines. First off, who and why did someone decide anything over 10 rounds was high-capacity? Everyone is saying reducing magazine capacity will limit how many people an individual can shoot. That is an all out lie. Changing out a magazine takes less than a second. How many people will be "saved" in that amount of time? (especially if there is no one around to stop them) Also, at every single major shooting in the last year the criminal had MULTIPLE weapons. When one weapon runs out of ammo (even if only 10 rounds), they can simply grab the next one. Limiting magazine capacity will do nothing to stop or slow down a killer.  And we can see how well the 10-round limit worked in New York - they still had too much gun violence,  so they dropped it down to 7 rounds.  When will it end?  5-rounds? 3-rounds? 1-round?


    Limiting magazine capacity will do nothing to stop gun voilence.  All it will do is make law abiding citizens like myself criminals.  I have multiple magazines for a couple Glock handguns owned by my wife and I.  NONE of them are 10 rounds.  (The standard Glock magazine is 15 rounds)  If fact, Glock does not even make a 7 round magazine.  Who is going to pay me back the hundreds of dollars I've spent on magazines?  Who is going to buy me all new ones that fit a politician's view of what is safe?



    The Sensible Approach


    Instead banning weapons that fit certain criteria, or limiting the size of a magazine, politicians need to look for ways to help prevent these tragedies.  Instead of crafting laws to take away my freedoms, politicians should focus on enforcing laws already in enacted to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.  And instead of modifying or defying the constitution of our great country, politicians should keep their oath to uphold it!

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